Video Games Ratings System

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In North America, video games are rated by the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB).  This classification system is not a legal requirement, but all video game manufacturers agree to respect it. This means that every video game you buy or rent will have one of the stamps in the table below. 

There are no legal consequences if you buy or rent a video game that's not recommended for your age group. But it can be a good idea to know about the various ratings.

RATINGS OF VIDEO GAMES

STAMP CONTENT STAMP CONTENT

ADULTS ONLY:

  • Might contain prolonged scenes of intense violence graphic sexual content and/or gambling with real currency.
  • Suitable for people 18 and over.

TEENAGERS 17 AND OVER:

  • Might contain intense violence, blood and gore, sexual content and/or strong language.
  • Suitable for ages 17 and over.

TEEN:

  • Might contain violence, suggestive themes, crude humour, minimal blood, simulated gambling and/or infrequent use of strong language.
  • Suitable for ages 13 and over.

 EVERYONE 10+:

  • Might contain cartoon, fantasy or mild violence, mild language and/or minimally suggestive themes.
  • Suitable for ages 10 and over.

EVERYONE:

  • Might contain minimal cartoon, fantasy or mild violence, and/or infrequent use of mild language.
  • Suitable for ages six and over.

EARLY CHILDHOOD:

  • No inappropriate material.
  • Suitable for ages three and over.

What happens if you buy or rent a video game not appropriate for your age group?  Nothing. You therefore aren't breaking the law and won't be fined. Why? Because in Quebec, contrary to films, there's no law for video games that 

  • makes the ESRB classification mandatory, or
  • stops a store from selling or renting a video game to someone who is not the age recommended by the ratings system.

What about stores that sell or rent you a video game not recommended for your age? No law prevents them from doing this. It's up to them to decide whether they want to use the ESRB ratings system or have other rules stopping you from renting or buying certain video games.

 

Important !
This article explains in a general way the law that applies in Quebec. This article is not a legal opinion or legal advice. To find out the specific rules for your situation, consult a lawyer or notary.