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Digital games get a new rating system

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The ESRB, who currently rates games for release in the US goes through a pretty painful process of rating and certifying game releases. It’s a system that works for retail games – but often gets in the way of digital game releases. That’ll soon be changing.

The ESRB will be launching a new streamlined, no-cost service to help get smaller, digitally released games on Xbox Live and the PSN more expeditiously than has been done in the past.

The new "Digital Rating Service" will give both developers and publishers access to a "brief but detailed online questionnaire" to define and rate their products for downloadable games on Xbox Live, PlayStation Network, Nintendo’s eShop and Wii Shop Channel, and Windows 8.

"The ESRB, expects to broaden adoption of its ratings among game providers of all types," said a statement from the board, "The resulting ubiquity of ESRB ratings will ease a parent’s job by presenting a single ratings standard across the many platforms on which their children access games."

I think this is a great move – and removes much of the red-tape as well as cost of getting new, interesting games on digital storefronts.

So how does this help us? Will our own local storefronts like the Xbox Live Marketplace and PSN Store be getting downloadable games quicker? Unfortunately no, because locally, that task’s still up to the draconian, often-backwards Film and Publications Board.

Last Updated: October 25, 2012

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