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ESRB Tweak Rating Icons For Wider Visibility

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Posted August 5, 2013 by Esteban Cuevas in News
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The Entertainment Software Rating Board, or ESRB, is changing the appearance of its video game rating icons. They are only minor changes but they’re the first change in more than a decade. The reason for the change is due to rise in digital distribution. The icons are being tweaked so that they’re clear and easy to understand on game cases, digital products, posters or wherever they may be posted.

The icons will no longer feature the “content rated by” line at the bottom and the name of the rating will be in black text with a white background instead of the other way around. Also the registered trademark symbol has been moved from the top left corner to the bottom right. These seem like superficial changes and by and large, that’s true. However, Patricia Vance, president of the ESRB, talked to Polygon and explained why these seemingly cosmetic changes were necessary.

“The goal is really to ensure that our symbols are displaying as clearly and legibly as possible in the increasing variety of environments that they’re being displayed [in], including online and [on] mobile devices,” said Vance. “As our ratings are increasingly used in digital environments we’ve recognized the need to tweak them so they’d display a bit more clearly, especially on smaller screens like mobile devices. So, for example, removing the small ‘Content Rated By’ text just helped create a cleaner look without losing any of the symbol’s meaning.”

The new icons will be implemented immediately, but the ESRB doesn’t expect the change to happen instantly. That last change the ESRB made to the rating system happened in 1999. The pixelated letter format was changed for a cleaner and clearer font and the K-A or Kids to Adults rating was changed to E for Everyone. The background and text color of the rating letter was also swapped from black and white to white and black.


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Esteban Cuevas


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