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Alternative To ESRB Ratings System Formed

Alternative To ESRB Ratings System Formed

December 1, 2004 | By Nich Maragos

December 1, 2004 | By Nich Maragos
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Citing vagueness and inconsistency in the official Entertainment Software Ratings Board's system, Veritasiti Corp. has launched an alternative videogame ratings system that claims to be more objective than the industry-run ESRB. The new system, called PSVratings, is so far available only through Veritasiti's Current Attractions website.

The approach PSVratings takes deemphasizes simple age-appropriate classification in favor of listing all of the potentially objectionable material in a game. By putting "in-depth information including the exact number of instances and the context in which profanities, nudity, sexual words and activities, disrespectful behavior, character, racial, religious and sexual slurs, alcohol abuse, illegal drug use, tobacco use, threatening behavior and violent actions will be encountered" into parents' hands, PSVratings hopes to better assist them in deciding what's appropriate for their children.

PSVratings has a classification scheme of its own in addition to the verbal descriptors: the level of violent, profane, and sexual content in each game is separately color-coded according to green (low), yellow (medium), or red (high) amounts of each. As yet, there are no plans to extend the reach of these classifications into retail stores or game packaging.

This marks the third occasion in recent weeks that the ESRB's ratings policy has come under fire. The National Institute on Media and the Family's report card handed them lower marks than in previous years, on the same day that the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility promoted a list of the 10 worst violent games of the year, while expressing concerns that several unspecified Teen games featured content exceeding the awarded rating. However, in response to these attacks, the ESRB has recently released details of a survey claiming that the vast majority of American parents agree with the organization's game ratings.


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