The ESRB has posted its winter newsletter, and the main topic is the continued decline of games that receive a rating of “M”.

According to the ESRB’s figures, only 6% of the 1,563 ratings were “M”, as opposed to 8% in 2006 and 12% the year before. Of course, that does come to about 93 titles, which are the ones that naturally get the most attention from the media.

Whether that all means the actual number of “M” games rated has gone done, we’d need to look at how many ratings were given in the previous two years. Still, it does indicate that not as many “Mature” games are coming along as before.

I’m not really surprised. Most of the “mature” games are big budget. Also, the rise of the consoles (which are not friendly to “M”), and the increase in the “casual games” market, mean more products with “T” or lower ratings.

One thing to ponder, though, is the criteria used. Would a game that gets a “T” today have been given “M” five years back? Would a “T” game from five years ago get a lower rating today?

Tastes and perceptions change over time. So while there may be a decline in “M”-rated games, it may just mean that some content has become more acceptable for a lesser rating.

ESRB Winter Newsletter