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ESRB launches instant, fee-free ratings service for digitally distributed games

Initial roll-out includes consoles and Windows 8

ESRB launches instant, fee-free ratings service for digitally distributed games
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The Entertainment Software Rating Board – the self-regulatory body for the US games industry – has announced a free service for assigning ratings to digitally distributed games.

The new Digital Ratings Service presents developers with an online questionnaire that's designed to assess the game's content. Once completed, the ESRB will assign a rating immediately, free of charge.

The questionnaire will also note whether a title includes online interactions or unfiltered user-generated content, and whether it shares the user's personal information or physical location.

Family-friendly

"Consumers have grown accustomed to using ESRB ratings when making decisions about the appropriateness of the games their families play.

"With the explosion of devices from which consumers can access games today, our goal is to ensure that those same tools are available everywhere games can be found," explained ESRB president Patricia Vance.

"More recently, parents' concerns have begun to extend beyond just content to include the sharing of their kids' personal information or location and interactions with other players," she added.

"ESRB's Digital Rating Service now offers all digital platforms, storefronts and networks the opportunity to empower their customers with consistent, credible, familiar and useful upfront guidance no matter where their family chooses to play games."

Initially, the Digital Rating Service will only be available to developers working on downloadable games for consoles, including PS Vita and Nintendo eShop, and Windows 8 devices, although the ESRB plans to extend the service further.

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James Nouch
James Nouch
PocketGamer.biz's news editor 2012-2013