The Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) has released a free iPhone app aimed at parents buying games for children this Christmas.
Intended to educate parents on the content of the games they're buying, the app contains rating summaries for over 18,000 games.
These rating summaries are currently provided by ESRB but not displayed on game boxes as ESRB ratings and content descriptors are. The organisation says the summaries elaborate on the content descriptors, enabling parents to make informed choices on the games their children play.
"Rating summaries provide just the kind of specific, descriptive information that parents find useful when having to make decisions about whether a game is suitable for their child," said ERSB president Patricia Vance.
"This new rating search app puts all this information at parents' fingertips when they need it most, right at the store. It's a powerful tool that will help assure parents that the games they give as gifts are not only fun but also appropriate for their children."
The free app is available now and contains information on titles rated since July 1 2008. ESRB has also planned a series of TV and radio adverts, which will inform parents about its ratings system and the new app.
ESRB game ratings were established in 1994. A Federal Trade Commission report released in 2007 found that nine in ten parents were aware of the ratings, 87 per cent were satisfied with them, and nearly three quarters use them regularly when choosing games for their children.