New 'streamlined' digital classification system to be available on XBLA, PSN and Windows 8

ESRB launches no-cost game ratings service

The Entertainment Software Rating Board has launched a new no-cost games rating service for digital titles.

The classification service requires developers to fill in a “brief but detailed” online questionnaire to assess a game’s content, age-appropriateness, sharing of personal information and exposure to unfiltered user-generated content.

Current compatible platforms for the new "streamlined" system include XBLA, PSN, Vita, the Nintendo eShop, Wii Shop Channel and Windows 8.

As well as these platforms, the ESRB said it would be bringing its the rating system to other online game networks and download services in future, although the likes of the iOS App Store and Steam were not mentioned in the announcement.

The ratings organisation said it hoped use of the no-cost service would broaden the adoption of its classification to games of all types and help make it easier for parents to make a decision on what is appropriate for their children by creating a single standard.

“Consumers have grown accustomed to using ESRB ratings when making decisions about the appropriateness of the games their families play,” said ESRB president Patricia Vance.

“With the explosion of devices from which consumers can access games today, our goal is to ensure that those same tools are available everywhere games can be found.

“More recently, parents’ concerns have begun to extend beyond just content to include the sharing of their kids’ personal information or location and interactions with other players.

"ESRB’s Digital Rating Service now offers all digital platforms, storefronts and networks the opportunity to empower their customers with consistent, credible, familiar and useful upfront guidance no matter where their family chooses to play games.”

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