CTIA, the wireless industry's trade group along with ESRB ( Entertainment Software Rating Board ) have announced a new system that will allow the developers to assign some rating for their software allowing the users to have some idea about the content prior to purchasing or downloading.
This is a free program and the developers will assign what are the genres of content present in each software. This information provided by the developers will turn into some age-specific rating that is assigned by ESRB. This rating will be noted by the developer before they send the software to the storefront that is participating. These ratings will be displayed to customers before they hit buy button.
The famous carriers like Verizon Wireless, U.S. Cellular, T-Mobile USA, Sprint and AT&T are also there among the participants in this new program and the one and only participant which is not a carrier is Microsoft. Microsoft is already a user of the ESRB ratings and it is enrolled in it for its games that are in the Windows Phone 7 Marketplace. The missing ones are the Apple and Google whose operating systems are largely used by a majority of the smartphones.
These companies already have a place in the age-specific ratings that are assigned by the developers. When it comes to Apple, all the software is subjected to a specific process of review to ensure that the content guidelines are adhered. The RIM is also not in the list as it has a set of own guidelines for content developed for the Blackberry App World.
The main reason that the big players have not opted for the ESRB ratings is that the system does not maintain the same cachet for all the platforms and a particular game might get different ratings in different platforms though the content remains the same. The two rating systems say that the popular apps are first tested to analyze if the ratings will match the content and then the ESRB will reassign a specific rating to it. The developers of the apps will then oblige to update the rating.
The new system of rating is almost 18 years old and it exists since the introduction of a similar program for the consoles, handheld portables and PC video games.