ESRB Moves to Full-Time Content Raters

The Entertainment Software Ratings Board, which serves the video game industry in rating game content, has been a target in various controversies in recent years, with certain politicians and other public figures claiming that the organization is not effective enough in its ratings practices. Numerous attempts (none of which have actually succeeded) have also been made to allow state or federal government to enforce age limits in purchasing video games.

Perhaps seeking to strengthen its justification for keeping video games a self-regulating industry, it appears that the ESRB will be changing its current ratings pratices, using full time rather than part time employees to evaluate games. A job listing posted on the website GamerDad this week reveals that the ESRB is looking for New York City-area applicants to take on a full time rating position. Candidates are expected to have familiarity with video games, strong verbal and written communication skills, and experience with children.

The organization issued the following statement explaining its plans:

After months of careful consideration, the ESRB will be switching from part-time to full-time raters in April 2007.

Having full-time raters will allow for each one to have greater experience actually reviewing content and recommending ratings, given the increased amount of time each one would spend doing it. This would provide each rater with a greater sense of historical parity for ratings, not to mention helping them to be more attuned to pertinent content and how it should be considered from a ratings standpoint.

The full-time raters would also be responsible for play-testing final versions of the game, time-permitting, which would allow for ESRB to play-test a greater number of games than it currently does. WeÂ’ll have more information available about these changes at a later date.