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Google Play is introducing ESRB ratings to its games

Google Play announced today the introduction of a new age-based rating system for apps and games, available to developers now.

The news was revealed in a blog post by product manager Eunice Kim, which confirms developers can fill out a content rating questionnaire to receive a content rating. The new rating system includes official ratings from International Age Rating Coalition (IARC) and its participating bodies, including the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB), Pan-European Game Information (PEGI), Australian Classification Board, Unterhaltungssoftware Selbstkontrolle (USK) and Classificação Indicativa (ClassInd).

The ESRB and CTIA, the trade association that represents the wireless communications industry, announced a voluntary rating system for mobile apps in November 2011; the system is used on a variety of digital storefronts, including those run by AT&T, Microsoft, Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular and Verizon Wireless.

Previously, the top two mobile marketplaces — Google Play and Apple's iTunes App Store — used their own age ratings instead of the ESRB system.

"We believe that consumers, especially parents, benefit from having a consistently applied set of ratings for games rather than a fragmented array of different systems," Patricia Vance, president of the ESRB, told us at the time. "So we continue to keep a number of game and app storefronts apprised of our efforts and will continue to work toward broadening the use of our rating system.

"At the end of the day, standardized age ratings that are familiar to consumers help storefronts, developers and families alike. It's a win for everyone."

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