Computer Entertainment Rating Organization
|Not for profit|
|Industry||Organization and rating system|
|Headquarters||Chiyoda, Tokyo, Japan|
The Computer Entertainment Rating Organization (特定非営利活動法人コンピュータエンターテインメントレーティング機構 Tokutei Hieiri Katsudō Hōjin Konpyūta Entāteinmento Rētingu Kikō) (CERO) is a Japanese entertainment rating organization based in Tokyo that rates video game content in console games with levels of rating that informs the customer of the nature of the product and for what age group it is suitable. It was established in July 2002 as a branch of Computer Entertainment Supplier's Association, and became an officially recognized nonprofit organization in 2003.
On March 1, 2006, CERO implemented the latest revision of its ratings system. The symbols that CERO uses are stylized Latin letters, named after academic grading, except "F" is replaced with "Z". Each is meant to convey at a glance, a game's suitability for minors. 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")
|All Ages (全年齢対象 Zen nenrei taishō)||Expressions and content subjected to age-specific limitation are not included in the game, thereby being suitable for all ages. Games that used to be rated All go into this category.|
|Ages 12 and up (12才以上対象 Jūnisai ijō taishō)||Expression and content suitable only to 12-year-olds and above are included in the game. Games that used to be rated 12 go into this category.|
|Ages 15 and up (15才以上対象 Jūgosai ijō taishō)||Expression and content suitable only to 15-year-olds and above are included in the game. Games that used to be rated 15 go into this category.|
|Ages 17 and up (17才以上対象 Jūnanasai ijō nōmi taishō)||Contains some adult material. Anyone under 17 cannot buy video games with this rating without parental consent. Expression and content suitable only to 17-year-olds and above are included in the game. Some games that used to be rated 18 go into this category.|
|Ages 18 and up only (18才以上のみ対象 Jūhachisai ijō nomi taishō)||Content is clearly adult. It is illegal for anyone under 18 to buy video games with this rating. Expression and content suitable only to 18-year-olds and above are included in the game. Some games that used to be rated 18 go into this category.|
|Education/Database (教育・データベース Kyouiku Deetabeesu)||A special rating applied only to non-game educational/utility software (e.g. books) released on consoles aimed to older audiences (games like this aimed to children are rated A instead). Despite having education on its name, it can still feature expressions and content that might not be suitable for minors.|
|Rating Pending (審査予定 Shinsa yotei)||The game has not been assigned its final rating.|
|Demonstration (規定適合 Kitei tekigō)||Applied only to trial versions of games, titles with this rating do not have all of the content featured in the final game.|
Contents descriptor icons
In April 2004, CERO defined the following "content descriptor icons". These icons are displayed on the back of all packages except on those rated "A" or "Education & Database". Some parents have imported games from Japan for their children and have sometimes been confused by the content descriptors. For example, the Sexual Content descriptor on a B (Ages 12+) rated game. Some parents have wondered why there would be sexual content in a B rated game so they play it to make sure but find nothing. The reason for the descriptor is probably because there might be outfits that show some cleavage or maybe there are mild suggestive comments in the game. You can guess by the age rating on why the descriptor is there, and how strong the content is. If the game were rated D (Ages 17+) or Z (Ages 18+), the game could contain Sexual Content that parents should be concerned and worried about. The Sexual Content descriptors doesn't just apply to sex, it applies to anything suggestive, sexual, and/or nudity. The Violence descriptor is another example. It doesn't just apply to violence, it also applies to violent references, blood, and/or gore. These examples apply to all content descriptors.
|Content Descriptors||Corresponding Ratings||Reasons|
|Love||Kissing, hugging, embrace, etc.|
|Sexual Content||Underwear exposure, sex, nudity, partial nudity, sex references, swimwear/costume, etc.|
|Violence||Violence, blood, gore, violent references, animated blood, etc.|
|Horror||Jumpscares, scary images, scary sounds, etc.|
|Drinking/Smoking||Drinking alcohol, smoking, vaping, alcohol references, tobacco references, etc.|
|Gambling||Gambling with in-game cash, real gambling, illegal gambling, etc.|
|Crime||Killing innocents, stealing, kidnapping, incest, human trafficking, etc.|
|Drugs||Use of drugs, drug references, illegal drugs, etc.|
|Language||Use of profanity/cussing, etc.|
According to Kazuya Watanabe, CERO's senior director, the group of assessors is composed of three "regular people, unaffiliated with the game industry". They are trained by rating past games. The ratings process is determined by 30 different types of content ranging from sexual content to violence. In addition six types of content are not allowed. Each content is rated using the A to Z scale that the labels use. After the group evaluates the game, the results are sent to CERO's main office where the final rating attempts to use the majority of the evaluators' ratings.
Scandals and controversy
This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (September 2011)
One month after the initial release of Atelier Meruru: The Apprentice of Arland, shipments of it were halted due to it having been mis-rated. It was re-released a few days later with a C rating from CERO. Its B (Ages 12+) rating was revoked and it was given a C (Ages 15+) rating instead, due to some provocative scenes featured in-game. One of these features several female characters in a hot spring with their genitalia and buttocks covered, and most of their cleavage hidden by towels and heavy steam effects. There are also some outfits that reveal moderate amounts of cleavage, and slightly see-through articles of clothing throughout the game. The in-game camera can also be scrolled to view female characters' underwear (lingerie). The game was originally rated for ages 12 and up due to Gust allegedly not providing them with the complete content of the game for them to review.
CERO has been criticized by other rating boards for being more strict on content (other strict rating boards include Australia's ACB, South Korea's GRAC, etc.) in games while other rating boards have been known to be more lenient on content (lenient rating boards include North America's ESRB, Taiwan's GSRR, etc.) in games. One example of this is the game Dragon's Crown. While it was left uncensored for both it's English and Japanese releases, it got a T for Teen (Ages 13+) from the ESRB while it got a D rating (Ages 17+) from CERO. Normally T for Teen (Ages 13+) games equate to a B (Ages 12+) or C (Ages 15+) from CERO. The reasons the game didn't get one of those two was because the Japanese felt that the game's content goes too far to get one of those ratings. Some of the content in the game that got it the D (Ages 17+) rating includes a scene showing a creature's head being cut off with a lot of blood shown, the outfits some of the female characters wear reveal large amounts of cleavage and buttocks, a picture of a female showing her exposed buttocks to the camera, and a picture showing the front part of a naked female with her nipples and genitalia barely being covered by mist.
- "CERO - Ratings Wiki Guide - IGN". IGN. Retrieved 21 April 2018.
- "Atelier Meruru game held back in Japan due to rating". Anime News Network. 2011-10-24. Retrieved 2011-11-01.