Entertainment Software Rating Association
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|Industry||Organization and rating system|
|Founded||2007 in Islamic Republic of Iran|
The Entertainment Software Rating Association (ESRA) is a self-regulatory organization that assigns age and content ratings in Iran. The system was established in 2007 by the Iran National Foundation of Computer Games and has the status of a research project.
ESRA has 7 main criteria which consist of 187 sub-categories:
- Violation of social norms
- Violation of religious values
- Drugs, alcohol and tobacco
- Sexual Content
This classification is for ages +3,+7,+12,+15 and +18.
After the establishment of the National Institute of Games, creating the best model for optimal use of video games became the main goal of the ESRA. The ESRA aimed to take advantage of the power and effectiveness of educational games while avoiding potential mental distress and damages caused by their inappropriate use. The main reasons that the ESRA was established are:
- The lack of a suitable model for using video games.
- Concerns of parents regarding violence, horror, and sexual content in video games.
- Psychological and social damages caused by inappropriate use of video games.
- The lack of sufficient knowledge about harmful effects of video games.
- Lack of accurate information for parents about video games.
The ESRA began rating video games in 2009, giving consideration to different aspects of the games such as psychology, sociology, and religion. The ESRA rating system was designed with the collaboration of over 20 experts and academic codifications to achieve the best accuracy possible in rating video games. The ESRA uses the following symbols to indicate video game suitability:
- +3 – Suitable for All Ages
- +7 – Suitable for Ages Over 7 years old. (Childhood)
- +12 – Suitable for Ages Over 12 years old. (Early adolescence)
- +15 – Suitable for Ages Over 15 years old. (Late adolescence)
- +18 – Suitable for Ages Over 18 years old. (Adults, most likely, single)
- +25 – Suitable for Ages Over 25 years old. (Adults, most likely, married) 
ESRA studies and research
In addition to controlling the content of video games, the ESRA has conducted research on the subject. Some of this research includes:
•A qualitative analysis of the content in horror games: In this study, four popular horror genre video games (Dead Space, F.E.A.R 2, Amnesia: The Dark Descent, and Silent Hill 5) were studied to determine the techniques these video games used and the components they incorporated to elicit fear from their audience. The theoretical framework of the study was based on the opinions of psychologists and experts on the horror genre.
•An analysis of the lifestyle presented in The Sims video game: These were case studies of The Sims 3 and the lifestyle it presents. In this study, theories of cultural imperialism, ideology and hegemony were used. The extracted patterns of life in The Sims 3 indicate that this game is promoting the American lifestyle.
•Content analysis of 40 popular characters in computer games: In this study, quantitative content analysis techniques were used. Forty famous characters confirmed reputable by gamers in the National Foundation of Computer Games in video games were selected. These characters were compared with each other in three aspects: their appearance, character traits and psychological environment.
•Classification of video game characters: This study identifies different types of characters that are often used in video games. The characters are classified in two general terms: Race and Class.
- "ESRA (Entertainment Software Rating Association)". Iran National Foundation of Computer Game. Retrieved 8 May 2013.
- Entertainment Software Rating Association homepage. . URL:http://esra.org.ir/. Accessed: 2013-08-05. (Archived by WebCite® at http://www.webcitation.org/6IetATzbf). Click on rating icons in the bottom left-hand corner.
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