Earlier this year, Microsoft rolled out a new age rating system for its Windows Store, in order to introduce a more streamlined experience for developers and consumers in compliance with the International Age Rating Coalition’s (IARC) rating system. Now, the company has cautioned developers who have not updated their apps and games with the new age rating system, stating that if they do not comply, their applications will be removed from the Windows Store by September 30, 2016.
The IARC rating system was introduced to simplify the age rating structure, as previously, developers had to manually select age ratings from regional rating authorities including ESRB, PEGI and DJCTQ, which was a tedious process. The update to the system allows developers to automatically have an age rating assigned to their app or game when they submit it to the store.
When submitting an app or game to the store, developers will simply have to fill in a questionnaire which will consist of questions including the app's category (Reference, Social Networking, Consumer, Game etc) and answer as to whether their app contains crude language, violence and horror elements or not.
Based on the answers from the developer, age ratings will automatically be generated for various boards including:
- Classification Board (ACB) in Australia
- Classificação Indicativa (ClassInd) in Brazil
- Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) in North America
- Pan European Game Information (PEGI) in Europe
- Unterhaltungssoftware Selbstkontrolle (USK) in Germany
- International Age Rating Coalition (IARC) for general purpose
However, despite the feature being available for over six months now, some developers and publishers haven't utilized it yet. As a result, Microsoft has sent out a warning, cautioning them to update their apps and games with the new age ratings or risk getting them removed from the Windows Store by September 30, 2016.
While this step will aid in offering a better Windows Store experience for consumers, it certainly spells bad news for developers who haven't updated their apps in a long time, and will probably pay no heed to the warning, resulting in their apps getting removed from the Store.