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ESRB details its toothless mobile app rating scheme

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The CTIA in partnership with the ESRB announced a new certification scheme for mobile apps. Google and Apple are notably not requiring the new certification in the App Store or Marketplace.


The Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) detailed plans for its new mobile app rating scheme yesterday, albeit without critical support from Apple or Google. While AT&T, Microsoft, Sprint, T-Mobile, US Cellular and Verizon have all signed on to support the "CTIA Mobile Application Rating System with ESRB" in their storefronts, Cupertino and Mountain View already have their own ratings and have not announced any intention to support the new system, leaving us to wonder what impact, if any, it will have.

Partnering with the CTIA, the ESRB is bringing its familiar E-for-everyone rating system to mobile applications by means of a cursory multiple-choice questionnaire about sexual content, language, and the sharing of user-generated content and location information. Once completed, the app is then rated "within seconds" – unlike the much more detailed rating process used for console games. The certification lasts for the life of the app, with no hard renewal requirement, although, "if subsequent updates to an app modify its content in a way that may affect its rating," the guidelines suggest that it "should be resubmitted."