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Rating System

Age Rating System

The system is to indicate target ages of potential game players based on content and expressions of computer and video games. It endeavors to indicate age classification marks covering all the computer and video games for household use sold domestically. The system that started on October 1, 2002 is maintained and implemented by Computer Entertainment Rating Organization (abbreviated as CERO) established in June 2002.
An indicated "age classification mark" represents that the game has been reviewed according to the CERO Code of Ethics and that the game includes content suitable for the game players of the indicated age and above. The marks are to be used for informed purchasing decisions. 

1. Scope of Rating

The rating by CERO covers the computer and video games for household use (including cellular phone-type games) sold in Japan. It covers not only main stories but also all the recorded expressions such as hidden commands and tricks. Computer and video games for household use are the ones that are developed and sold for the following hardware devices. 
SEGA Corporation
Sony Computer Entertainment Inc.
Play Station 
Portable Play Station (including go)
Play Station 3
Play Station Vita
Play Station 4
Nintendo Co., Ltd.
Nintendo 64
Nintendo GameCube
Game Boy
Game Boy Advance
Nintendo DS
Nintendo 3DS
New Nintendo 3DS
Nintendo Switch
BANDAI Co., Ltd.
Wonder Swan
Microsoft Japan Co., Ltd.
Xbox 360
Xbox One
Personal computer manufacturers
Personal computers
(Compliant OS: Windows, Mac)
Cell-phone makers
Cell-phone, smartphone
(the correspondence OS: Android, iPhone, WindowsPhone)
Cellphone manufacturers
Cellphones, Smart phones
(Compliant OS: Android, iPhone, Windows Phone, etc.)
Service providers of cloud games
Cloud game services
as of November, 2016

2. Categories of representation to be covered by rating

-- Sex-related expression type --
● kiss
● embrace
● underwear exposure
● sexual intercourse
● nudity
● sex-evoking expression
● adultery
● defecation
● sex entertainment industry 
● swimwear/costume
-- Violence expression type --
● description of animated blood
● description of mutilation/body-cutting 
● description of corpse 
● killing/wounding
● horror
● description of versus beat 'em-up game/fighting
-- Antisocial act expression type --
● description of crime
● controlled substance such as narcotics
● abuse
● illegal drinking/smoking 
● illegal gambling 
● incest, sexual crime, etc.
● providing/soliciting prostitution
● suicide/self-injury
● human trafficking, etc.
-- Language- and ideology-related expression type--
● Improper expressions related to language and ideology
Note: Each expression item has an upper limit, the content and expressions that exceed the upper limit are designated as "banned expressions," and the computer and video games that include the banned expressions will not be assigned a rating. (See Appendix 3, CERO Code of Ethics for the banned expressions.) 

3. CERO Rating Marks

"CERO rating marks" are grouped broadly into "age classification marks" and "other marks."
A. Age Classification Marks
Age classification marks include the following five marks. One of the marks is indicated on the left bottom of the game box front, and a corresponding color bar is also shown on the box spine. (Bar colors: black for "A"; green for "B"; blue for "C"; orange for "D"; red for "Z")
Note: Products indicated with the classification marks are being sold, the products having been rated according to the pre-revision criteria. 
"※Pre-Revision Age Classification Mark"
B. Other Marks
Other marks include three marks of "Educational/Database," "CERO Regulations-Compatible" used for trial versions, and "Rating Scheduled" used for promotion items that game publishers use for advertisements of their games being created (having yet to be reviewed at this point).
Irrelevant to CERO rating, cases have recently occurred in which a "rating mark" or a similar mark is indicated on product boxes in the market. Since such conduct confuses people and allows them misunderstand that the game in question has been assigned rating by CERO and infringes the Unfair Competition Prevention Law, please be reminded that such conduct should not be performed.

4. Content Icons

The rating mark is indicated on the game box front, and the content icon, on the back. Content icons represent that the age classification decision has been made based on the expressions belonging to one (or more) of the content icons. They are grouped into nine categories.

5. Rating Process

The following is the flow of the steps for reviewing rating to indicating an age classification mark:
   1) CERO receives a request of ethics reviewing for a computer and video game from a game publisher. 
   2) Numerous raters review expressions, content, etc. of the requester's game. 
* The expression items subjected to reviewing include twenty-four items listed in "2. Expression items to be covered through rating," and each expression item has an upper limit, the expressions and content that exceed the upper limit are specified as "banned expressions," and the computer and video games that include the banned expressions will not be assigned rating.
   3) An age classification is determined based on respective evaluating results. 
   4) CERO notifies the game publisher of the review result. 
   5) The game publisher indicates an age classification mark on the product.

Raters consist of males and females in various occupations, aged from the twenties to the sixties, who are recruited widely from the public and have been trained in advance by CERO. Raters have been registered by CERO and have executed a non-disclosure agreement. It is taken into consideration that there is no bias in raters' attributes such as sex and age in respective reviewing. No raters who are associated with the game industry are registered.
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