Back in March, industry group CTIA announced its intentions to propose a unified ratings system for mobile apps, just as the same ESRB ratings are used for titles across multiple video game consoles. On paper, at least, it sounded like a fine idea, and we waited to learn more. Just this past week, we heard of plans to finally announce the finished system, but now that the news has broke, we’re learning that it may not have the industry support behind it that a unified system really needs to be effective.
While Microsoft is on-board with the new ratings, along with several carriers, Apple and Google have passed on the opportunity.
As far as Apple and Google are concerned, their app stores already make it clear to users what apps might contain objectionable content. Then there’s the issue of introducing a new ratings system when you already have a store-full of apps; with no one responsible for going back and re-evaluating all those titles, it would create a situation where some apps feature the new ratings, and some don’t, potentially only adding to parent confusion.
Microsoft is still a serious partner to get signed-on to the effort the carriers with their own app stores, less so but we can’t help but feel that the limited scope of CTIA and the ESRB’s mobile app ratings system is a long way removed from the debut they might have been hoping for when putting this together eight months ago.