According to ESRB president Patricia Vance, the software rating board is seeking to switch from part-time to full-time raters to be "more attuned to pertinent content" and provide "a greater sense of historical parity for ratings."
The comments come after online parenting-oriented site GamerDad.com received a special ad from the ESRB seeking full-time video game raters in New York City with "experience with children" and an "interest in and familiarity with video games."
The move also comes after Senator Sam Brownback once again re-introduced the Truth in Video Game Rating Act, which would require the ESRB to have access to the full content of and hands-on time with the games it was to rate, rather than simply relying on the video demonstrations submitted by developers and publishers as it does currently. It would also "prohibit video game producers and distributors from withholding or hiding playable content from a ratings organization."
In a statement to Gamasutra, ESRB president Vance said, "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."
She continued, "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."
She added, "We'll have more information available about these changes at a later date."