ESRB and CTIA unveil mobile app rating system

TechCrunch reports that the Entertainment Software Rating Board and Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association revealed the full details of their new mobile app rating system on Tuesday, with support from six major mobile service and hardware companies. However, two big names are notably absent from the list of supporters: Apple and Google.

The six supporting companies that will implement the new rating system first on their various app stores and hardware are AT&T, Microsoft, Sprint, T-Mobile USA, U.S. Cellular, and Verizon Wireless, with other storefronts reportedly expressing interest as well. Individual announcements of the schedule for each company's implementations will be announced in the future.

The new ratings system will be free of charge to developers, answering one of the biggest questions from the initial announcement last week. One of the other big questions, that of how the ESRB would be able to handle the sudden potentially huge influx of ratings requests, was also answered in the press conference. App developers will fill out a questionnaire that will instantly generate an appropriate rating from 6+ to 18+. This, of course, raises another big question about inappropriate ratings for games. The ESRB said it will "routinely test the most popular applications" for accuracy in ratings, and that user complaints will result in prompt investigations into ratings adjustments.

We'll see how well this ratings system takes off, especially considering that Apple and Google, the two companies with the largest and most influential app marketplaces, already have their own ratings implementations and are not officially supporting this new ratings system as of now.

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