ESRB mobile app ratings system detailed

AT&T, Microsoft, Sprint, T-Mobile USA, US Cellular, and Verizon Wireless sign on to use automated application assessment system.

Yesterday, the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) announced a partnership with CTIA - The Wireless Association to introduce a mobile application rating system. Today, the pair unveiled details of the new plan, which will use the same ratings categories already in place for games.

This system is rated "M" for "pertaining to Mobile applications."

CTIA announced today that the ESRB's existing video game content rating system will make the jump to mobile applications. AT&T, Microsoft, Sprint, T-Mobile USA, US Cellular, and Verizon Wireless have all already signed on to support the new system, and CTIA said other storefront operators have "indicated their interest."

Apple and Google use their own proprietary content ratings system and were not addressed in the new rating system announcement.

The mobile application rating process is streamlined over the video games counterpart. Whereas console and PC video games have to go through a review process, the mobile application system will employ an automated rating procedure based on a "multiple choice questionnaire that is designed to assess an application's content and context with respect to its age appropriateness." A similar system is already part of the ESRB's rating process for downloadable content in games.

A rating for this mobile app system is said to be assigned within "seconds," and the rated app will be issued a certificate and unique identifying code for streamlined submission to all supporting storefronts. The application and submission process will be free. The ESRB also said it will routinely test popular apps and quickly respond to complaints of misassigned ratings.

The ESRB said it is up to the carriers to announce when they will roll out the new rating system, adding that full implementation of the ratings will vary by store.

Written By

Discussion

11 comments
vega13mv
vega13mv

all mobile games should be rated N for Nobody

Hobbes444
Hobbes444

Well, I guess we can now officially consider mobile games, "real games." *Sigh* So much for that PS Vita......... (ps- im still getting a Vita, i prefer REAL, PHYSICAL CONTROLS, not animated "joysticks" and buttons on a small screen. ESRB ratings really do no good, I'm 13 and all my friends and I play games like MW3 and BF3, and guess what, THEY"RE REATED "M" for MATURE (people 17+), we just don't go out and shoot people if we get sniped.

ali_yusuf7
ali_yusuf7

I m in with the flow...it's a great idea to add mobile gaming to the actual gaming industry ..

moviequest14
moviequest14

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

daabulls23
daabulls23

Possible scenario: Parent: "You can't buy that, it's rated M" Kid: "Ummmm, no.... that stands for mobile!" Parent: "Oh, OK!"

XanderMercury
XanderMercury

Oh, great, more regulations on material released through a digital medium. Forgive me for sounding cynical, but the ESRB does very little to help the expansion and the overall well-being of games and applications throughout the entertainment world, especially with video games. Even in an age where more and more content is readily available for any and all to absorb, the powers-that-be have to be prepared with some kind of censorship regulation...thank you, ESRB. The fact that they come out with a simple "multiple choice questionairre" is ridiculous, as well. It seems that there's not much purpose to serve if it won't be as strict or have as much of an impact as the ESRB when it comes to console games. There's no straightforward enforcement of the ESRB's rules with this particular domain, so that begs the question: Why? Why even have this when it's not going to make a significant difference? Bottom line: in my opinion, it's useless. Why bother to restrict this kind of content? It's basically just more intervention from organizations who apparently know what is best for the public.

Granpire
Granpire

This is good, but I would prefer to have a full review process, giving a more specific analysis on the frequency and gravity of said content. Still, it's nice to have some guidelines as to what sort of content to expect.