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ESRB Eyeballing Ratings For iPhone Games 72

Kotaku reports that the ESRB is thinking about expanding their game ratings to include games sold on the App Store. They realize that evaluating every single game is not feasible, but they may still be underestimating the amount of work they'd be taking on, and it could negatively affect some developers. Quoting: "'ESRB has seen increases in rating submissions each year since its founding and has always been able to keep pace,' the ESRB's Eliot Mizrachi told us. 'We have rated more than 70 mobile games to date and will undoubtedly rate more in the future as the market grows.' Seventy? Over the past, what, four or five years? It's a piddling number when you think of the hundreds of games available through the App Store. Further, many of them are mobile adjuncts to console releases, a different sort of beast from iPhone games. Not all of those need or deserve a rating; but if Apple brings in the ESRB to rate games, with the idea that it'll help parents control what their kids buy for their iPods, then unrated games are likely to be blocked by such filters. The incentive would definitely be there to get a game rated. And what of the cost? Getting a game rated isn't a free service; the ESRB levies a fee that covers the cost of looking through the code and rating the game."
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ESRB Eyeballing Ratings For iPhone Games

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  • Seems pointless (Score:5, Informative)

    by Bogtha ( 906264 ) on Monday June 15, 2009 @06:45AM (#28333391)
    When you submit an app to the App Store, you already have to select various categories your app falls into (e.g. you might select realistic violence: frequent/intense), which result in a rating that is a direct analogue of ESRB ratings (Apple publishes a table showing the equivalents). iPhone OS 3.0 will make use of these ratings so a parent can lock out content they think is inappropriate from their children's phones. Apple have shown themselves more than willing to lay down the law to app developers, so why would the ESRB need to get involved?
  • Re:Say what? (Score:2, Informative)

    by beowulfcluster ( 603942 ) on Monday June 15, 2009 @07:30AM (#28333595)
    I think the usual thing is that publishers send them footage of the 'worst' stuff in their game and the base the rating on that.
  • Re:Say what? (Score:4, Informative)

    by bipbop ( 1144919 ) on Monday June 15, 2009 @07:38AM (#28333615)
    It's changed a bit since the whole "Hot Coffee" thing, but for most of the existence of the ESRB, you basically rated your own game, sent them a tape with some stuff from the game, and then they rubber stamped it in exchange for your cash. It's pretty stupid, really.
  • The other jerk (Score:3, Informative)

    by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) on Monday June 15, 2009 @12:05PM (#28336309)

    The ESRB is non-profit. You can't exactly make a cash-grab if you're a non-profit entity.

    Holy crap are you ignorant about non-profits. Non profit is code for "not taxed" and as a result they are HUGE businesses with lots of money flowing through them.

    The ESRB is no different, the money flows from the game industry.

    Anyone who says this is a cash grab is obviously just knee-jerk anti-regulatory.

    Better than being a regulatory jerk.

Truth is free, but information costs.