Tuesday, November 29, 2011

ESRB and Mobile Games

I knew it was going to happen. Just a matter of time.

But think of it this way, better the ESRB then the government.

With the wide number of games available for phones these days, it can be difficult to tell what content is in each program. There are some guidelines on the Apple and Android store-fronts, but really, it's an open field to anyone who wants to download stuff.

Enter the ESRB and CTIA The Wireless Association teaming up with 6 major wireless providers to create a rating system application for mobile games. The ratings will be a copy/paste of what's currently available for video games in the U.S.

It'll work like this: when a developer wants to submit their mobile game, they will have to fill out a questionnaire from the storefront and their apps will be immediately given a rating. They'll also be issued a code to apply to multiple store-fronts so that the rating of the game is uniform on all platforms (since Apple's TOS are different then Android, for example).

So it's a quick, easy to use system. I'm sure there will be a few developers complaining that it's too simplified and will wrongly mark some games. That's bound to happen. But when you think about the hundreds of thousands of products released on phones each year in comparison to the disc games sold in retail outlets, you need something much more efficient and fast to rate products. Good thing? Maybe. We'll have to see how it plays out. I'm sure the major wireless carriers will forbid AO games and a number of M's.

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