The International Age Rating Coalition (IARC), a scheme designed to make rating games and apps more efficient, is to be implemented on Windows platforms.
The new system is described by Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) president and IARC chairperson Patricia Vance as "a revolutionary unified process that simultaneously generates trusted and familiar ratings for multiple territories while preserving each of their distinct cultural standards”.
Focused on digital platforms, IARC offers developers a series of questions about their game or app. The responses are then translated into age ratings suitable for each IARC-supporting territory they plan to release the title in, as well as a universal global rating for countries yet to join the scheme.
The Windows Store on PC, smartphone and tablet will roll out the new classification method soon, with Xbox retaining the existing ESRB process in the US.
"Microsoft has long supported IARC's efforts to bring forward a single, much streamlined and cost effective global rating process for developers,” said Todd Brix, GM for Windows Store and developer marketing at Microsoft.
“We're pleased to make the IARC system available in early 2016 in the Windows Store as a way to help our customers find regionally relevant ratings for games and apps.”
Vance added: "We applaud these storefronts for deploying the IARC rating system, enabling developers to obtain ratings at no cost and providing consumers with culturally relevant and trustworthy guidance about age appropriateness of the content in games and apps they may be considering for download."