Game ratings and content descriptors: frequently asked questions
Here are answers to some common questions about game ratings and content descriptors.
Game ratings are set by a game ratings board. Game ratings boards are organizations that establish guidelines for video game content for different regions and countries. A game ratings board typically assigns age-based ratings levels to each game. The ratings board also examines the content of each game and adds content descriptors to the rating. The ratings and content descriptors are very similar to the systems often used to rate and describe the content of movies.
The age ratings group content into levels appropriate for different ages, from young children through mature teens and an adults-only category.
There are dozens of different descriptors, typically used to identify content that some people may find objectionable for children. If a game has a content descriptor such as Violence, that indicates that there's violence of some kind in the game. Read the list carefully before deciding what you want to block.
Keep in mind that the relative intensity of content varies from game to game. A game with a Blood and Gore descriptor could indicate realistic, gruesome images rendered in detail, or it could also indicate a small spot of color seen from a distant point of view within the game. It's often a good idea to learn as much as you can about individual games before deciding whether they should be blocked.
If the game is installed on the computer, you can check the game's rating and content descriptors in the Games folder.
Open the Games folder by clicking the Start button , clicking All Programs, clicking Games, and then clicking Games Explorer.
Select the game in the list.
The rating and content descriptors appear at the bottom of the window.
The warning that content may change during online play means that the setting of the game is an online virtual world where different players can affect the environment and the gaming activity as time goes on. Online games let players affect game play in many ways, so game manufacturers can't guarantee that some customers won't invent ways to create game content that may be objectionable to some people.
Because the things players can create change from game to game, this warning usually indicates that you should perform your own research about the game. Visit the game company's website and try to read as much as you can about the game from third party sources, such as magazines and websites, dedicated to game coverage.