SF Giants team up with ESRB on video game ratings

The Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) announced a new partnership with the San Francisco Giants during a press conference on Wednesday at AT&T Park, pertaining to video games and their respective ratings.

ESRB is the non-profit entity responsible for assigning ratings to video games, based on the content within them. ESRB’s ratings serve as a helpful guideline for parents to decide what games may or may not be appropriate to purchase for their children.

On Wednesday, ESRB revealed a new public service announcement (PSA) campaign, starring two popular baseball fan favorites – catcher Buster Posey and pitcher Ryan Vogelsong, both of the San Francisco Giants.

The Campaign

At AT&T Park Wednesday, ESRB announced its new PSA campaign, starring popular SF Giants players, Buster Posey and Ryan Vogelsong. The PSA features both players explaining ESRB’s rating system and encouraging parents to do their research to determine whether a particular game is appropriate for their children.

The ad will begin broadcasting soon on northern California television and radio stations, as well as over the big screens at San Francisco Giants home games at AT&T Park.

Says Vogelsong of the campaign:

“I grew up with video games and I still play today. They’re a lot of fun, especially when we’re on the road. But these days it’s clear that not every game is right for every kid. The ESRB rating on the game box helps a parent decide which games are appropriate for their children. Being a father I’m proud to help reach other parents with this important message.”

After the announcement, a group of Junior Giants received Playstation Vita portable gaming systems as gifts, along with a copy of MLB 12: The Show. They were also given an opportunity to play the game head-to-head with Posey and Vogelsong. The Junior Giants is a flagship program of the Giants Community Fund. It brings together boys and girls between the ages of 5 and 18 to participate in a free, non-competitive baseball program and serves as a great way to encourage kids from at-risk backgrounds to engage in positive and healthy extracurricular activities.

The San Francisco Giants Major League Baseball team is a significant emblem in San Francisco and surrounding Bay Area communities. It seems to be ESRB’s hope that, by aligning itself with the Giants, the importance of parental responsibility and initiative when it comes to determining what games are appropriate for young people will reach a substantially greater audience than it otherwise would have.

ESRB’s Ratings

The Entertainment Software Association established the ESRB in 1994 to independently assign video game content ratings, among other responsibilities. The ESRB’s primarily goal is to offer consumers information about the content in video games so they can make informed decisions about what to purchase.

There are two aspects to ESRB’s rating system:

Rating symbols: these symbols are posted on each video game’s packaging and indicate age appropriateness based on a letter and sometimes a number. For example, T stands for “Teen,” and implies the game in question is generally suitable for children age 13 and older.

Content descriptors: For further information about just why the game was rated a certain way, ESRB also provides content descriptors on video game packaging. These description boxes go a little more in-depth as to what parents might find specifically objectionable in games, such as instances of violence, strong language and mature themes.

In addition to these two helpful guidelines, ESRB goes a step further and provides actual rating summaries, available via a search box on ESRB’s website. These summaries go into even greater detail about how the content in a video game factored into the ESRB’s ultimate rating decision. The rating summaries can be accessed via ESRB’s mobile site, and from free iPhone, Android and Windows Phone apps as well. Even better, the ESRB Rating Search App for mobile devices provides ratings information on games via an in-app search, by speaking the game’s title or even by snapping a picture of the game box in the store, ensuring you’re never more than a few seconds away from being able to access more information about the games you’re considering purchasing.

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