This shocking news report about portal 2 confirms the awful truth of the game -- it calls itself an educational game, and indeed, is rated for everyone 10 and older, but it cannot hide the fact that the game is brutally prejudiced against adopted children who may be playing it.

While local news reporters continue to maintain that the sky is falling, I was actually curious about their second point -- that Portal 2 is rated E10+. While this was easily confirm-able by going to www.esrb.org, I wondered where (if!) this information was stored somewhere within the interface of the steam store itself, as I couldn't find it.

Genre, sure. Player count, yes. Merchandise? Two companion cubes is enough for me, thanks. But ESRB rating? Nowhere to be found.

Does Steam list the ESRB rating of the titles they sell? If so, where can I find this info within the client?

  • I don't think it is any more prejudiced against the adopted than portal was. Maybe that's just me, but I think the media has gone over the top on this one:-) – Rory Alsop May 19 '11 at 13:06
  • @Rory - I agree. – Raven Dreamer May 19 '11 at 15:09
  • Brutally prejudiced what? Is this a joke? – o0'. Jul 22 '11 at 23:15
  • @Lo'oris - Check the first link. – Raven Dreamer Jul 22 '11 at 23:27

Steam shows the ESRB rating in the Game Details section on the left sidebar on the games page.

Here's Bejeweled 3's rating:

Bejeweled 3

Duke Nukem Forever:

Duke Nukem Forever

At first, I suspected that you don't see it when you go to view Portal 2 because you already own the game. Indeed, I own it too and do not see it. Since the ESRB only requires that you see the rating during the purchase process, not showing it once you own the game is fine.

From the ESRB guidelines:

The assigned rating icon, content descriptor(s) and if required, the online rating notice must be displayed on a webpage or digital delivery service screen prior to consumers' purchase/access/download in a location where they will be accurately associated with the game and cannot be bypassed.

Since it's not required after purchase, I figured Steam was removing this extra information since it wasn't needed. On a hunch, however, I went to view a Valve game I did not own to confirm (Left 4 Dead). The rating is not there.

Perplexed, I went to view a non-Valve game I do own (Defense Grid: Awakening). The ESRB logo is there:

Defense Grid: Awakening

Further searching of my games list confirms that, for some reason I cannot explain at this time, Steam does not list the ESRB rating for Valve games.

While the ESRB is self-regulatory and technically voluntary, the fact that Valve's games are rated by the ESRB means they were submitted for rating. This means that Valve is opting in to ESRB participation. It's possible there's some rule that allows them not to post the rating before purchase, but it's not one of which I am aware. I went to "buy" Left 4 Dead (stopping before the final purchase) and I didn't come across a rating at any point in the process.

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  • @RavenDreamer: Indeed. I am still poking around to see if I can find a reason why they don't post the ratings for Valve games. The only other games that had no rating in my sample were indie games which very likely were never submitted for ESRB rating in the first place. – Shaun May 19 '11 at 3:00

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