ESRB game ratings will be unaffected by the coronavirus


The ESRB (Entertainment Software Rating Board) has confirmed that game ratings in the US are unaffected by the coronavirus. Some concerns have arisen around this matter given the fact that many non-essential businesses are effectively shut down around the world. Governments everywhere have enforced strict lockdown procedures, meaning that a number of companies can’t get any work done. However, while the ESRB is observing the same practices as everyone else at this time, they don’t foresee any delays to game ratings.

Before a game can officially release, it needs a rating. This rating is a classification, giving consumers an overview of some of the product’s content before purchasing it. These rating standards are quite strict, since they often help parents judge which games and movies are appropriate for their children.

Working from home

In a statement to IGN, the ESRB explained how it can keep working. “Thanks to a good deal of advance planning, since March 16 ESRB has been operating remotely due to the COVID-19 outbreak. We have seen no delay in assigning ratings. We will continue to assign ratings remotely for as long as required.”

The European ratings board, PEGI, has also made it clear that they are in a similar situation. “When this situation started to unfold across Europe a couple of weeks ago, we quickly found a way to continue our daily operations by working remotely. Given that PEGI (in Brussels) works with two independent administrators that are located in The Netherlands and the United Kingdom, and they deal with publishers all over the world that we do not have to meet in person, cooperating remotely has always been part of our daily routine. But now it happens from homes instead of different offices.”

While the US and European markets seem safe from game delays – at least delays caused by ratings boards like the ESRB – the same can’t be said for Japan. Just last week, we learned that that region’s ratings body, CERO, would shut down. The company is unable to operate remotely, so games will be delayed in Japan until staff can safely return to work.


Jamie Sharp
Started out playing Metroid 2 on the GameBoy at around 5 years-old, and now I write about games all day long. Can't play Switch and drive, I've tried. As time goes on the Switch is quickly becoming my favourite console of all time.