Yesterday CTIA announced its plans to implement a rating system for mobile gaming. Together with the ESRB, the organization has created a way for mobile games to receive a rating system similar to what you currently find on console and PC software in the US, with the familiar giant letter artwork and all.
Some of the bigger mobile players in the US including AT&T, Microsoft, Sprint, T-Mobile USA, U.S. Cellular and Verizon Wireless are all on board with the system, but none have yet to give an timetable as to when it will be available to customers.
The system, while I won’t say is totally poor, doesn’t exactly fall in line with traditional stringent ESRB ratings process. For starters, developers simply have to fill out a questionnaire stating what’s in their game. Check off a few boxes and send it in. The problem is that if the app is updated or altered, nothing has to be resubmitted even if the content in the application has changed.
So who’s not in? Oh, just the two biggest companies in mobile transactions; both Google and Apple have released statements against the rating system and have cited that they both already have their own in place, and will continue to use them. This raises the question of “well, what’s the point?” especially when you consider how much of the mobile gaming landscape is dominated by these two giants. If things keep going the way they are, and more and more things go digital, looks like the ESRB will soon be standing on its last legs. It seems like it’s using this latest entry into the mobile space as a means to stay relevant. I need to find a game with the “A/O” rating, before it truly becomes a thing of the past.