The Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) employs a team of full-time game raters to assign ratings to over 1000 video games each year. To protect the independence of the raters and the integrity of the rating process, the identities of the individuals who review the games and propose the ratings are kept secret.
This carefully selected group faces an extraordinary task: consistently hold each game to the guidelines of the ESRB system -- to confront new issues as they arise while also staying true to precedent. With a constantly-changing industry and the ebb and flow of the seasons, the group of six can assign ratings to 150 games a month during the rush up to the holiday season. As a key part of the ESRB rating process, no fewer than three raters review a DVD or videotape of the pertinent content in a game. This footage is prepared by the publisher.
Given the importance of this process and the secrecy surrounding the ESRB raters, Gamasutra felt it would be important to engage the ESRB and find out as much as they could about the raters and just how they make their determinations.