New York, NY – The Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) today announced the expansion in use of its video game ratings to mobile and digital storefronts in North America as part of a new global rating system developed with other rating authorities from around the world. The International Age Rating Coalition (IARC) was recently established to streamline the process for assigning age and content ratings to the high volume of digitally delivered games and mobile apps coming into the market today. The IARC rating system is currently adopted for use in Firefox Marketplace and Google Play, and Microsoft’s Xbox Live store, Nintendo® eShop, and the PlayStation® Store are expected to do so at a later date.
Founded in late 2013, the IARC system represents the first time international rating organizations have joined forces to agree on a unified process that simultaneously generates ratings for multiple territories while preserving each of their distinct cultural standards.
Currently, the IARC system assigns the familiar and trusted content rating icons from ESRB in North America, PEGI in Europe, ClassInd in Brazil, USK in Germany, and the Classification Board in Australia, with more rating authorities expected to join in the future.
“The market for digital games and mobile apps is exploding across the globe. With a single click, developers can publish their games and apps on digital storefronts reaching a worldwide audience. These realities have created regulatory and cultural challenges that call for an innovative solution like IARC to help developers and storefronts provide consumers with culturally relevant, legally compliant and reliable guidance about the age appropriateness of the content in games and apps they may be considering for download,” said Patricia Vance, president of ESRB and chairperson of IARC. “It is encouraging that digital storefronts recognize the benefits of this groundbreaking initiative.”
The IARC system assigns age ratings, content descriptors and interactive elements for digitally delivered games and apps. Developers can only access the system and use IARC ratings on digital storefronts that have licensed and integrated the system into their on-boarding process. There is no cost for developers to use the system, which features a single questionnaire that once completed immediately assigns different ratings for various territories around the world. Those IARC-certified ratings are then ingested by the storefront and mapped to their respective regions. IARC and its participating rating authorities are responsible for monitoring and ensuring the accuracy of ratings assigned by the system. The fundamental goal is to enable digital consumers, especially parents, to have broad access to established, credible and locally relevant ratings for interactive entertainment products, regardless of the device on which they consume them.
The initial five IARC rating authority participants, which collectively represent regions serving approximately 1.5 billion people, include:
The system also assigns generic IARC ratings in territories without a participating rating authority.
The ESRB is a non-profit, self-regulatory body that assigns age and content ratings for video games and mobile apps so parents can make informed choices. It also enforces advertising guidelines adopted by the video game industry and helps companies implement responsible online and mobile privacy practices under its Privacy Certified program. Visit www.esrb.org for more information.