Rating and Censorship
International Game Developers Association
Game rating and censorship is an important part of publishing and selling a completed game. Here you will find relevant information about location specific ratings, censorship and research into the area.
Rating media (such as games, books, music and films) is commonly done to stop children from possessing material that is deemed unsuitable for their viewing or use, and to provide information for parents. Generally censorship of a game means banning it or having it be recut so adults can play it at the highest rating. Since the game industry came about after films and other media started being rated, most of the systems used for other media are applied to games in many countries (see also: Research and Resources which includes general rating history).
Since the introduction of ratings for video games, the precedent for film and books has meant various games have been rated, and possibly censored, banned or recut for different regions for many different reasons.
Ratings by region and organisation
There are no international rating systems, therefore you will be able to find relevant information for a region in the Region Information section, and find information by organisation in the Rating Organisations Information section.
Not all ratings have legal backing, however many do. There are various laws relating to the implementation of ratings for video games.
For a alphabetical list of all laws, general information and any new rating laws which are not implemented yet, see the Rating Laws page. This section is a encyclopedic-base of knowledge on the law, not legal advice, but will link to the relevant documents when available online.
You may find each region has applicable laws, as noted on their pages.
Rating of games
The Rating of Games page shows many examples of games which have been rated. These also provide examples of major differences between ratings of the same game by different organisations. There are games from all age ranges in this section, to allow the differences between specific rating certifications to be shown as well.
This area also contains information on all games which have been censored or banned by organisations, and resources relating to what occurred.
Videogame retailers commonly have policy on videogame ratings. This can be as simple as a requirement of a rating to be sold at all, to the refusal to sell certain rated games, sometimes highly influencing the need for a certain game rating. Find more information and key retailers policy under the Retailers section.
Research and Resources
The Rating Research and Resources page you will find a collection of research articles, news, resources, and information on:
- How to sort game packaging and rating information in a worldwide release
- General history of ratings (in games and other media)
- The reasons given behind ratings
- The pros and cons of ratings
- Opinion pieces on the subject of ratings and censorship
Apart from the IGDA there are many groups that advocate anti-censorship. You can find a list and more information about them at the Anti-censorship Advocacy page.
This area of the IGDA Wiki is providing relevant up to date information from around the world. All information is welcome. Since this is still ongoing before being a usable resource, it is subject to changes and additions and errors need constant correction. To get involved or for any corrections or information, please contact Andrew Armstrong.
Specific members contributing to this section include:
- Andrew Armstrong
- Help welcome if you want to provide information or editing
Find specific external information and resources at the different pages above. The IGDA's Anti-censorship page is here.