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Mobile Industry Rolls Out Game Rating System 49

Posted by Soulskill
from the rated-g-for-good-luck-with-that dept.
alphadogg writes "Mobile telecom trade group CTIA and the Entertainment Software Rating Board will roll out a rating system for mobile applications similar to ratings on other electronic games, the groups announced Tuesday. Six mobile application storefronts will support the rating system and will roll out the ratings in the coming months, CTIA said. AT&T, Microsoft, Sprint Nextel, T-Mobile USA, U.S. Cellular and Verizon Wireless are the founding members of the rating system." An opinion piece at Gamasutra points out that this initiative falls a bit flat without Apple or Google on board, since iOS and Android are so vital to the current mobile gaming industry. "In the long run, the ESRB/CTIA announcement could be another sign of shifting power in the gaming industry. Normally, the ESRB gets what it wants. But it has no leverage against Apple and Google."
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Mobile Industry Rolls Out Game Rating System

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  • by ExploHD (888637) on Thursday December 01, 2011 @03:28AM (#38223926)
    "It's as addictive as Angry Birds"
    "It'll pass the time like Bubble Breaker"
    "As fun as Snake"
    "Sorry, you can't delete the Demo"
    • by Anonymous Coward

      as long as they have the following warning i've no problem with the new system -

      "Like all mobile apps, this is for entertainment purposes only - and like all apps it is a self-imposed fine on stupidity. It is aimed at mindless cocksuckers with an extreme tendency to fall for hype, and those that are foolish enough to pay for each and every one of their favorite web pages."

    • I am having a blast with Guitar Hero Mobile, which came pre-installed on my TMo HD2 (whose original ROM I just flashed last week, after years of custom ROMs).

  • by Zaldarr (2469168) on Thursday December 01, 2011 @03:36AM (#38223950) Homepage
  • by Pichu0102 (916292) <pichu0102@gmail.com> on Thursday December 01, 2011 @03:40AM (#38223964) Homepage Journal

    Eventually people are going to want phone makers to make Ratings mandatory to get sold on app stores, and once that happens, you can say goodbye to cheap mobile games, or mobile games in general. Fees and having to wait for your game to be reviewed when hundreds of new games pop up in the review queue daily will bring mobile gaming to its knees.

    • by LordLucless (582312) on Thursday December 01, 2011 @04:27AM (#38224118)

      Eventually people are going to want phone makers to make Ratings mandatory to get sold on app stores

      Except the phone makers don't have much leverage themselves (with Android). It's Google's system, and it's not like the phone makers are valued clients on fat contracts. Google can afford refuse them. With iPhone, it's even less likely, given that Apple has never given a stuff what anyone thinks.

      Of course, with Android, even that doesn't matter, since the Android Marketplace is just one purveyor of apps among many - albeit, the default one.

      Short a legal requirement forcing them to do so, I doubt Google or Apple are going to voluntarily start requiring ratings. It's a losing move for whoever does it first, for the reasons you pointed out.

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        Short a legal requirement forcing them to do so, I doubt Google or Apple are going to voluntarily start requiring ratings. It's a losing move for whoever does it first, for the reasons you pointed out.

        It's not beyond Apple to lobby for them, with their stance on morality I'm sure they'd love to have ratings. Unfortunately, they wouldn't even need an adult rating :(

      • by Sockatume (732728)

        Apple already requires ratings for apps. They even include "content descriptors". I'm looking at Infinity Blade 2 right now and it says:

        "Rated 9+ for the following: Infrequent/Mild Mature/Suggestive Themes, Frequent/Intense Cartoon or Fantasy Violence and Infrequent/Mild Realistic Violence."

        Also there's a link to a EULA from the publisher, . What an odious development that is, given that you're already agreeing to Apple's EULA.

        • But "9+" isn't an ESRB rating and thus doesn't imply that the publisher paid the ESRB's fee, which can run into the hundreds of USD or thousands of USD.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      At least with Apple there is. They depend on the dev to give a true rating, but there is one in place. The thing swinging over dev's heads is if they dont' rate responsibly. Making a gory fragfest, and labeling it kids & lollypops won't be on the store for long. Same goes for X rated material on the iOS store. Flattly just isn't there instead of dealing with the eventual legal headaches. Whereas the videogame market before the ESRB came about the dev's didn't really put the level of debauchery located i

      • by BitZtream (692029)

        They don't 'depend' on the dev, they have testors verifying the apps before release, remember?

        The devs self rate, and Apple approves if the self rate seems appropriate. You'll get rejected if your self-rating is clearly wrong.

  • Are the going to copy the homeland security system.

    This game is rated Sunset Orange.

  • Doesn't Apple already have a rating system for iOS apps?

    • Yep, and just like that 'mature content for persons over 17' warning, an ESRB warning will also be ignored by app purchasers.

      The whole idea seems daft seeing as it cannot realistically be policed. The only example of policing consumer ages I've ever seen is a few sites that require consumers to send in a photocopy/email/fax of ID to confirm their age when buying alcohol online. I hardly think Google or Apple will decide they need to do this because somebody is trying to purchase Infinity Blade II or simila
      • by BitZtream (692029)

        The whole idea seems daft seeing as it cannot realistically be policed.

        iOS is more than happy to enforce the 'parental' controls that will prevent you from playing games with ratings higher than allowed.

        While you can argue that the device can be 'jailbroken' to get around it, that argument doesn't apply to a 12 year old who doesn't know about jail breaking yet and which I can detect easily.

        Also, there wasn't an active rating system when you bought Duke Nukem. Maybe if you're referring to DN3D?

      • by Bucky24 (1943328)

        you have to enter your DOB before you can view an age restricted game

        Every single time. You'd think after the tenth time it would remember me how old I am. I always just tell it I was born in 1925 anyway, so it's really not that good of a protection.

    • by thegarbz (1787294)

      Doesn't Apple already have a rating system for iOS apps?

      Yep, apps that Jobs approve of are sold, and apps that are deemed in any way not suitable for an Apple user are not.

  • Misleading Title (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Keyboarder (965386) on Thursday December 01, 2011 @05:09AM (#38224292)
    The title should have been "ESRB Rolls Out Game Rating System For Mobile, Is Completely Ignored By Mobile Industry". Seriously! Neither Apple nor Google intend to support this thing, so it's pretty much dead in the water. This is before even considering the damage it would do to mobile gaming. I guess it wouldn't be the first /. title to be off.
    • by bberens (965711)
      Never underestimate the power of "THINK OF THE CHILDREN" marketing. It will take a while, maybe even a couple years, but a lobbyist and/or marketing firm will find some kid who played a violent video game and shoots up a school or sees porn or something and the media will get involved, there will be a Congressional hearing, and Apple/Google will cave.
      • by tlhIngan (30335)

        Never underestimate the power of "THINK OF THE CHILDREN" marketing. It will take a while, maybe even a couple years, but a lobbyist and/or marketing firm will find some kid who played a violent video game and shoots up a school or sees porn or something and the media will get involved, there will be a Congressional hearing, and Apple/Google will cave.

        Except Apple (and probably Android, but I haven't looked deeply into it) already do have content ratings and parental controls.

        And Apple's parental rating syst

  • by game kid (805301) on Thursday December 01, 2011 @05:35AM (#38224374) Homepage

    If this is just an application of the same ESRB ratings to mobile games (which is suggested with "The CTIA Mobile Application Rating System with ESRB will utilize the well-known and trusted age rating icons that ESRB assigns to computer and video games to provide parents and consumers reliable information about the age-appropriateness of applications." in the press release), then this doesn't warrant a story, as smartphones and their ilk are computers (however hobbled by their small form and bad service providers).

    If they'll instead use a new set of rating categories or descriptors, then it's wasted effort, as they could've just applied the ESRB ones to these games since they're becoming more and more like computer and console games (partly because, well, smartphones are computers). In this case, it not only doesn't warrant a story but does warrant a point-and-laugh for the repetitive noobs they are.

    Also, slapping A Capitalized Slogan(R) in front of your name more than once per page, as if to be part of it, is highly loathsome and annoying; and I want to physically harm whoever made "onboard" a verb.

    • If this is just an application of the same ESRB ratings to mobile games (which is suggested with "The CTIA Mobile Application Rating System with ESRB will utilize the well-known and trusted age rating icons that ESRB assigns to computer and video games to provide parents and consumers reliable information about the age-appropriateness of applications." in the press release), then this doesn't warrant a story, as smartphones and their ilk are computers (however hobbled by their small form and bad service providers).

      If they'll instead use a new set of rating categories or descriptors, then it's wasted effort, as they could've just applied the ESRB ones to these games since they're becoming more and more like computer and console games (partly because, well, smartphones are computers). In this case, it not only doesn't warrant a story but does warrant a point-and-laugh for the repetitive noobs they are.

      Also, slapping A Capitalized Slogan(R) in front of your name more than once per page, as if to be part of it, is highly loathsome and annoying; and I want to physically harm whoever made "onboard" a verb.

      I think they want to cover things like how data is collected and other privacy things that the ESRB doesn't cover.

    • by nahdude812 (88157) *

      The point is that mobile games aren't currently rated with ESRB ratings, which means that ESRB isn't making money off the submissions process ($800 for a small game, $4,000 for a large game).

      Basically ESRB is pissed they're not making bank on this trend, and they'd like the app store owners (Google, Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, RIM) to require ratings for games before the game is available for sale.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    According to Wikipedia, to have a game evaluated for ESRB costs $800 to $4,000.

    And a large share of mobile phone games are free and many are made by small-time developers or even individuals.

    I think the ESRB is looking to be a solution to a problem that does not exist, at least for the Apple App Store. I cannot speak for Android.

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