Since the birth of the gaming industry, the issue of censoring such content has become acute. This led to the need to develop an age rating for games . Since initially it was about slot machines, it was quite difficult to control game titles. In the era of the emergence of online platforms for the sale of games (GOG, Steam, EGS), the situation has changed dramatically.

Online platforms for selling games

It should be noted right away that by law any developer has the right to refuse to receive a rating for a project. In this case, he simply loses the opportunity to sell his product on these digital platforms. This is due to user policy, so obtaining it is a mandatory unspoken requirement for all creators of game titles.

What organizations determine the age rating of games?

In many countries there are various organizations that determine the age rating of games. The following are some of the more prominent organizations:

  • Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB). An organization that determines the age rating of games for the North American market, including the United States and Canada. Provides ratings “For everyone” (E – Everyone), “For teenagers” (T – Teen), “For adults” (M – Mature), etc. Indicates the presence of content that may be inappropriate for certain age groups.
  • Pan European Game Information (PEGI) – deals with the rating of projects for the European market. PEGI uses a 3+ to 18+ system, indicating a recommended minimum user age for each game.
  • Computer Entertainment Rating Organization (CERO). Determines the age rating of games for the Japanese market. Uses a system from “For all” (A – All Ages) to “Only for adults 18+” (Z – 18+). Indicates the recommended minimum user age.
  • Australian Classification Board . Works exclusively for the Australian market. Uses system G (General) to R18+ (Restricted 18+). Determines whether content is restricted to certain age groups.
  • Korea Media Rating Board (KMRB). An organization that determines the age rating of games for the South Korean market. Uses a system from “For All” (All) to “Only for adults 18+” (Adults only 18+), determining the recommended minimum age of the user.
Game regulators in different countries

Different countries have different organizations or government agencies that determine the age rating of games. They are guided by local laws, cultural characteristics . A good example of this is the Chinese market. The latter banned LGBT propaganda, feminine male bodies of characters, and much more.

What criteria determine the age rating?

The set of age limits by country includes the same sets of aspects . It can be violence, excessive cruelty, controversial issues of ethics and morality, sexual content, and so on. In some cases, even certain famous characters from films, animations, and books may be banned.

Violence in games

To summarize, the regulators pay special attention to those aspects of the game, which will be indicated below.

Sexual Content

The determination of the presence of sexual content in games is based on various factors and elements:

  • visual elements . Images, animations or videos that contain nudity, sexual positions, sexual organs, sexual acts, or sexual clothing of characters. Evaluation can be based on the clarity and intensity of sexual images.
  • Audio elements . Sound effects, dialogue, or lines that contain sexual language, obscene language, or obscene jokes.
  • Theme and plot . This item includes the presence and discussion of sexual relationships, sexual orientations, representation of sexual fantasies, etc.
  • Interactivity . The ability for the player to interact with sexual content, such as options for choosing sexual actions/decisions that affect the progress of the story.
Sexual content


Issues related to violence are defined according to the following criteria :

  • Visualization . This includes images, animations, videos containing violent scenes such as fights, murders, injuries, explosions, shootings. Evaluation can be made on the basis of the clarity, realism, gore, and intensity of the violent images.
  • Sound row . Includes sound effects, dialogues, lines that contain sounds of violence. The latter include shots, blows, screams, groans and other sounds associated with violent actions.
  • Theme and plot . The presence of violent acts, character deaths, violence or other violent elements in the plot or theme of the game.
  • Player interaction . It implies the player’s ability to commit violent actions in the game (murders, violent interactions with other characters, objects in the game world).
Violence and its distinctive features

Obscene language

The determination of the presence of obscene language in games is based on a number of different factors :

  • Text elements . Using obscene language, swearing, insults, curses, swearing or other obscene words and phrases. May be present in text messages, dialogue, subtitles, or other forms of written content in the game.
  • Audio elements . Includes the use of obscene language in sound effects, dialogue, character lines, or comments from other players. The definition includes the ability to communicate with other players through voice chat in multiplayer games.
  • Interactivity . It represents the player’s ability to use obscene language in their actions or communication with other players. The ability to enter obscene words in text chats and use them in game dialogs is no exception.

A striking example is the online project of the Valve studio Dota 2 , where the fact of a romantic visit to a cafe with the opponent’s mother (if you know what I mean) is considered almost the norm.

Obscene language

Evaluation of the presence of obscene language in games is carried out by organizations. The latter determine the age rating of games, taking into account the context in which it is used and the purpose of the game . Organizations can analyze the text and audio elements of the game, evaluate the frequency and intensity of the use of obscene language. They may also take into account the presence of control mechanisms, restrictions on the use of obscene language in the game, such as filters or reporting systems for offensive player behavior.

Fear and horror

The definition of the presence of fear and horror in games is formed on the basis of the analysis of the following parameters:

  • Visualization . Use of gloomy and menacing images, creepy creatures, bloody or violent scenes, intimidating atmospheres, ominous places. Including other visual effects that can cause fear and horror in players.
  • Sound elements . The use of gloomy sounds, ominous music, screams, groans, gnashing, helping to create an atmosphere of horror.
  • Game process . The presence of game mechanics associated with fear and horror, such as plot twists, unexpected events, harassment, monster attacks, jumps, screamers, hidden traps and other game moments that can cause strong negative emotions in players.
  • Tension and emotional content . Includes the presence of scenes with a high level of tension, anxiety, threats. Other emotionally rich moments are also implied, causing fear and horror in the players.

The assessment of the presence of fear and horror in games is carried out by organizations that determine the age rating of games, taking into account the intensity, duration and context of the use of scary and terrifying elements in the game, as well as the purpose and target audience of the game. Organizations analyze visual and audio elements of the game , evaluate emotional content and gameplay. They can also take into account the possibility of adjusting the level of fear of the game, for example, through difficulty settings, the presence of modes without scary elements.

adult content

Adult themes in the games include various aspects of life that are more suitable for an adult audience due to their content. Some examples of adult themes in games should include but are not limited to the following:

  • Sexual relations . Games that contain sexually explicit scenes, dialogue, or images that are considered adult content. The latter include images of naked bodies, sexual acts, erotic situations.
  • Drugs, alcohol . The projects use images or references to drugs, alcohol or their use. They fall under the definition of images of smoking, drinking alcohol, drugs, and other aspects associated with bad habits.
  • Crime . Titles may contain images or plot elements related to crime, such as robbery, violence, mafia structures, breaking the law.
  • Politics, religion . This includes aspects related to politics, elections, religious views, ideologies.
Questions of religion
  • Relationship violence . This list includes images or story elements related to relationship violence. The latter includes domestic, partner, sexual violence and other forms of it, which should be considered adult content.
  • Psychological and emotional aspects . Games may contain images or story elements related to the psychological or emotional aspects of life (depression, post-traumatic stress disorder).
  • Death, violence . We are talking about scenes related to death, murder, bloodshed, other graphic or violent situations.
  • Social Themes . Games sometimes touch on complex social issues such as racism, sexism, discrimination, social inequalities, political conflicts.
gray morality

The definition of adult content in games is based on the visual presentation, the presence of language, the context of the plot. This is usually evaluated by organizations that set standards for game content in accordance with local laws, public morals.

Multiplayer projects

The rating of multiplayer projects, that is, games in which players get the opportunity to interact with other players online, is based on the same criteria that are used to evaluate single games. The list includes sexual content, violence, profanity, fear, adult content. However, multiplayer projects also have additional aspects that must be taken into account when determining their rating.

Multiplayer games

One of the important aspects of determining the rating of such games is the interaction between the players . Includes communication between players via chat, voice communication , the ability of players to influence each other’s gameplay. The assessment of such interaction includes the features of the presence of obscene language , insults, harassment. The number includes racism, sexism , other aspects related to social interactions between players. An aspect of determining the rating may be in-game purchases (microtransactions, additional content, etc.). The evaluation of such purchases includes an analysis of their impact on gameplay, cost, impact on gameplay. It is determined whether they are suitable for a particular age range.

Shopping in multiplayer

Another important aspect of determining the rating of multiplayer projects is the protection of player data (personal information, financial, confidential data). The evaluation of the data protection measures must be taken into account when rating games of this type.

In addition, the evaluation of multiplayer projects may also include an analysis of other aspects. These include the ability to create and modify user-generated content, the presence of advertising or the promotion of third-party products. It also takes into account the impact on the physical and mental health of the players, the possibility of interacting with other players.

Features of age censorship in Ukraine

In the realities of Ukraine, there is no single body that regulates age censoring of games. In this we are inferior to the United States or European countries. The institution responsible for age censoring of games is the Committee for the Control of Advertising and Information of Ukraine (KVKRI). KVKRI is a state body that controls and regulates advertising and information, including video games, on the territory of Ukraine.

Game censorship in Ukraine

Features of age-related censorship of games in Ukraine include:

  • Determining the age rating . Evaluates content based on information provided by game developers, demo material, and other available sources. Determines a specific age rating in accordance with Ukrainian legislation.
  • Advertising control . Controls video game advertising, especially those directed at children and teenagers. Checks advertising materials for content that is incompatible with the age of the target audience. This definition includes violence, sexual content, obscene language and other prohibited materials.
  • Access restriction . In accordance with Ukrainian legislation, video games with an 18+ rating may be restricted for sale/access to minors, their parents, and certain categories of users.
  • Cooperation with other bodies . Cooperates with other bodies, including the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports of Ukraine.
Game industry regulation

However, it is worth noting that the practice of age-related censoring of games in Ukraine may change over time . It is recommended to follow the latest updates and instructions from the official bodies responsible for the regulation of video games in Ukraine. This is due to the fact that the Ukrainian gaming industry is increasingly striving for European standards . This is directly related to the process of forming a single age qualification.

Why our customers can be confident in the safety of the project?

The issue of age-related censorship of games is becoming more and more relevant in the framework of state legislation. We will help develop a game project in accordance with the desired rating.

Age limit at the development stage

To solve this problem, the best specialists will be involved, who will be able to competently prescribe the entire gameplay . The gameplay , interaction between players, game mechanics, visualization are being worked out in accordance with the requirements of the age rating .

This is a rather complicated and time-consuming process, but it will allow you to preserve the authenticity of the original idea as much as possible. Also accurately and correctly convey the vision of the authors without going beyond what is permitted from the point of view of morality, legislation. In the end, you get a product that makes a profit , while complying with all censorship standards.