Ex-ESRB rater claims games are not played

An ex-employee of North American games rating body the ESRB has stated that the firm doesn’t actually play the games it rates,



Jerry Bonner, who claims to have rated over 700 games in his six months at the company, stated: The ESRB’s current pool of fulltime raters does not actually play the games that they rate. They just watch submitted videotapes or DVDs of someone else playing the game.

I would strongly suggest having the raters play the games to completion and carefully log their findings throughout the playtest.

I’ve already heard the ESRB’s argument on this one, ‘that’ll take way too long and it will compromise our turnaround time’. My solution to that is simple – hire more people.”

However, ESRB president Patricia Vance has hit back at the claims, stating: Mr. Bonner’s article contains numerous misleading statements, factual inaccuracies, and misrepresentations.

The author also fails to mention the unique and limited nature of his six-month tenure at the ESRB. He implies that we arbitrarily change ratings after the raters have done their jobs.

It is regrettable that the author does not appreciate the importance of protecting the confidentiality of the raters to avoid even the possibility of undue influence from external sources.

At the end of the day, ESRB stands behind each rating it assigns, and the process by which it assigns those ratings.”

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