Smartphones have made significant inroads to upstaging dedicating handheld consoles as the hardware of choice for mobile gaming. With phones like the Xperia Play on the way, more kids than ever are going to be picking up smartphones and downloading apps. While all the major app stores have systems in place to police their content, ranking apps based on their age-appropriateness, CTIA is hoping to bring everyone together on the same page to make it easier to judge which apps are appropriate for children of varying ages, with its new app rating initiative.
Apple breaks down its app ratings with four age cut-offs, limiting what content’s allowed for children of which age, while Google offers an estimation of what maturity level each app may be appropriate for. The stores have their own standards for what pushes an app over into the next bracket. Hopefully CTIA’s efforts would create less ambiguity for everyone involved; developers would be less likely to face the wrath of upset parents, and parents would be more enabled to control what their children are exposed to.
Behind the scenes, CTIA wants to create a database where developers can answer questions about their apps and get an automated assessment of what rating the app should receive. Though there’s no indication this database would be made public, it sounds like it would serve as an even more useful tool for keeping parents informed.
CTIA members include Apple, Google, and Microsoft.