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 the organization that rates video games and computer software in Japan 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 on July 2002 as a branch of Computer Entertainment Supplier's Association, and became an officially recognized non-profit organization on 2003.
On March 1, 2006, CERO implemented the latest revision of its ratings system. The symbols that CERO uses are stylized depictions of letters, meant to convey at a glance, a game's suitability for minors:
|A (all ages): equivalent to ESRB's E and E10+ ratings, PEGI's 3+ and 7+ ratings, and OFLC's G and PG ratings. Games rated A include Dragon Ball Z: Burst Limit, Super Smash Bros. Brawl, and Sonic Unleashed. The content is mild in the CERO impact levels.|
|B (ages 12 and up): equivalent to ESRB's T (low end) rating, PEGI's 12+ rating, and OFLC's M (low end) rating. Games rated B include Metroid Prime 2: Echoes, Burnout Paradise, Tales of Vesperia, and Higurashi Daybreak. The content is moderate in the CERO impact levels.|
|C (ages 15 and up): equivalent to ESRB's T (high end) rating, PEGI's 16+ (low end) rating and OFLC's M (high end) rating. Games rated C include Devil May Cry, Dissidia: Final Fantasy, Midnight Club: Los Angeles, and Destroy All Humans!. The content is intense in the CERO impact levels.|
|D (ages 17 and up): equivalent to ESRB's M rating, PEGI's 16+ (high end) rating, and OFLC's MA 15 (low end) rating. Games rated D include Higurashi no naku koro ni, Halo 3, and BioShock. This is the strongest unrestricted CERO rating. The content is strong in the CERO impact levels.|
|Z (ages 18 and up only): equivalent to ESRB's AO and M (in some cases) ratings, PEGI's 18+ rating (high end), and OFLC's MA 15 (high end) and Refused Classification ratings. Games rated Z include Assassin's Creed, Dead Rising, and Dark Sector. The content is extreme in the CERO impact levels and therefore off-limits to persons under 18.|
Cultural differences between ratings are very common, and games can receive different ratings in different countries. For example, the game Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne was rated A by the CERO, but rated 12+ by the PEGI and M by the ESRB. There are many other examples, but some ratings are consistent, such as No More Heroes which is rated M by the ESRB, D by the CERO and 16+ by PEGI.
Ratings are often printed on the packaging of video games. The Z classification is the only rating which is restricted.
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."
These ratings were used until March 2006.
|Free replaced by A|
|12 and older replaced by B|
|15 and older replaced by C|
|18 and older replaced by D and Z|
The primary difference between the two rating systems was the inclusion of the "17 and older" rating, due to the large gap between the "15 and up" and "18 and up" ratings.