CERO Temporarily Closes Due to Japan’s Coronavirus Emergency

CERO Temporarily Closes Due to Japan’s Coronavirus Emergency

CERO, Japan's games rating organization, will be closing down until May 6 due to Coronavirus, with possibly huge consequences on new Japanese games.

CERO, the Computer Entertainment Rating Organization in Japan, announced it will be closing down for a month due to the Coronavirus.

On April 7, Japanese Prime minister Shinzo Abe announced the country is entering a state of emergency from April 8 until May 6. The government urged citizens to stay home during this time frame. This concerns seven prefectures in Japan, including Tokyo.

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CERO’s office is located in Chiyoda in Tokyo. Due to the state of emergency, CERO’s employees will be unable to go to work safely. In consequence, CERO announced it will be temporarily closing down from April 8 until May 6. The organization will suspend all of its activities during this period.

What is CERO and why its closure due to Coronavirus is huge?

CERO is the Japanese equivalent of the ESRB in USA, and the PEGI in Europe. The organization is in charge of rating all game releases in Japan. If CERO rates a game, it means the game either went gold, or is about to go gold soon with its development close to completion.

CERO is a vital element to the game industry in Japan. The organization’s closure due to Coronavirus will definitely have some consequences. This means that all Japanese games which were currently nearing gold status could be delayed. These games won’t be able to get a rating and a release. CERO also rates DLCs and demos, and those too can’t release without it.

In the first place, it’s important to note many developers in Japan and around the world have switched to work from home. Game development has already slowed down around the globe. This is especially true for Japanese studios, as while I don’t want to get into racist stereotypes, most Japanese companies can’t decide anything without meeting in person. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate‘s Masahiro Sakurai recently talked about this issue.

Last but not least, Japan’s state of emergency could get prolonged past May 6. In this scenario, many Japanese games will definitely get delayed.