App lets you snap photo to see game content detail

Dec 14, 2010

(AP) -- Video games come with ratings similar to movies, but plenty of parents buy games rated M for Mature for their kids under 17.

To give them more information about what's in the games their children are asking for, the Entertainment Software Ratings Board updated its free mobile app Tuesday to let users snap photos of the boxes of video games and find out what the ratings mean. For newer games they will also get vivid descriptions and examples of content that could be unsuitable to children.

The nonprofit industry group is responsible for assigning the ratings on every video sold in stores. The ratings range from EC for Early Childhood to AO for Adults Only, though the latter is rare and major retailers don't stock games with that rating. The most popular shooters, such as "Call of Duty" and "," are rated M.

For games rated before July 1, 2008, the app will bring what each letter rating means. For games that were assigned a rating after that date, it will fetch information about why they received that rating. For "Call of Duty: Black Ops," for example, this includes combat that "can generate pools of blood and dismembered limbs." On the other hand, "Kirby's Epic Yarn," rated E for Everyone, is a safer bet for . In it, "enemies lose feathers, yarn or beads when hit (and) Kirby reacts to damage with an 'Ow!' sound effect," according to the ESRB.

The expects a decision from the U.S. Supreme Court next year on the constitutionality of a California ban on the sale of ultra-violent games to children. Parents' groups and politicians say games should be regulated like firearms and tobacco rather than like books and movies. The industry believes that its ratings system works well and negates the need for .

The app is available on the and on Android devices by searching for ESRB.

To use the photo feature, tap "Search by photo" on the app's yellow home screen. This should bring up your smart phone's camera feature. Use this to snap a photo of the video game's box, making sure it's centered in the screen. Tap "use" if you'd like to use the photo.

Explore further: Madison, Wis., becoming a force in video game industry

not rated yet
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Video game watchdog shuts down, victim of economy

Dec 18, 2009

(AP) -- David Walsh said when he was assembling his first report card on video game violence 13 years ago, children were attacking on-screen monsters or aliens with imaginary chain saws and guns.

Clinton joins video game censoring rally

Jul 17, 2005

Video games are big business for the computer industry, from software monolith Microsoft to start-up companies run by individual game programmers, yet as the content of many games becomes increasingly violent and pornographic, ...

Court hears arguments on violent video games

Nov 02, 2010

(AP) -- The Supreme Court on Tuesday expressed sympathy for a California law that aims to keep children from buying ultra-violent video games in which players maim, kill or sexually assault images of people. ...

Supreme Court to hear violent video game case

Oct 31, 2010

(AP) -- Before picking up any Wii games or downloading apps on her iPhone for her two daughters, Lillian Quintero does her homework. She'll first read reviews online and in magazines, then try them out for ...

Recommended for you

Taxi app Uber defies ban in Spain

4 hours ago

Smartphone car-ride service Uber vowed Friday to keep operating in Spain despite a ban following a lawsuit by taxi drivers and said it would fight the case in court.

Sony film mess reflects gadgets-entertainment gap

12 hours ago

Sony's iconic gadgetry and the star appeal of Hollywood may have appeared to be a perfect match when the electronics giant bought Columbia Pictures in 1989. A quarter century later, it's apparent that Sony ...

Streaming release of 'Interview' test for industry

Dec 25, 2014

Sony's "The Interview" has been a hacking target, a punchline and a political lightning rod. Now, with its release online at the same time it debuts in theaters, it has a new role: a test for a new kind of ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.