Age Ratings

We've highlighted in the past how obtaining age ratings can be a complicated and expensive process for Indie developers on tight budgets. While the ESRB service in North America is free and based online, complaints over the slower processes in PAL territories - which also cost a fair amount of money and come in three regional variations - can lead to some games arriving later outside of North America or, occasionally, not at all.

Just recently we also highlighted how Germany's own rating system - USK - is prompting some download developers to skip the country (while still publishing in the rest of Europe) due to a combinations of the costs of the process and low eShop sales. For small companies on tight budgets, it's clear that the ratings processes outside of North America are a notable issue.

The positive is that - as previously reported - the eShop looks set to adopt the IARC (International Age Rating Coalition) system, which will allow for a quick, unified and simple process that's all completed online. As a result the old-fashioned approach with PAL ratings agencies of assessing physical copies of games will no longer be necessary.

Though this is fairly well known, there is a positive update in the form of a USK statement, which has reiterated that organisation's support for IARC - the eShop is still listed as a platform that'll support the new system in the future.

From a developer's and gamer's perspective this can't come soon enough; as the video below explains, everyone wins.