Attention Android App Developers, Google Brings Sweeping Changes To Playstore App Ratings!
Google has emailed all Android developers, announcing sweeping changes in their Playstore rating system. They have introduced a new age based rating system, which is being enforced across all applications, failure to which may result in your app being removed from the Playstore.
All existing apps needs to be rated as per this new system, and all new app will only be approved after taking this age based rating.
Here is an excerpt of email sent by Google to All developers.
“Your compliance and participation with the new app ratings system is required under the Google Play Developer Distribution Agreement. In the future, apps that aren’t rated using the new rating system may be removed from the Play Store.”
Introduction to this new platform for rating and evaluating applications was also published on their official Android Developers blog, where Eunice Kim, Product Manager for Google Play said, “Consistent with industry best practices, this change will give developers an easy way to communicate familiar and locally relevant content ratings to their users and help improve app discovery and engagement by letting people choose content that is right for them.”
What is this all about?
The problem with age based rating is that, it differs from country to country, and from niche to niche. Hence, if a game or a utility app is certified for a 12 year old in Norway, it may not be appropriate for a 12 year old in Japan. In order to eliminate this confusion, Google has joined hands with the International Age Rating Coalition (IARC).
Founded in 2013, IARC provides a ‘globally streamlined’ age classification process for video games, and applications. This coalition is formed by rating authorities from all over the world, developers of games and mobile apps, storefronts and consumers from all over the world. These reviewers and users represent around 1.5 billion people in terms of their usage and preferences, territory wise.
How does it work?
Once the application is developed, and submitted to Google, the developers will receive a questionnaire created by IARC. Developers will themselves answer the questions based on their own knowledge of the apps, and submit it.
Using some customized and intelligent algorithm developed by IARC, the answers would be evaluated based on the several factors such as region, local rules and regulations, global standards of age filters etc. Age based rating differentiated into several layers would be formulated, which would be assigned to the approved app.
Hence, for example, a 14 year old from Sweden will witness a different rating, compared with a 11 year of from Rome. Google has made clear that the existing ratings would be replaced with this age-based local rating approved by IARC.
There would be 6 age based filters: 3+ ; 7+ ; 12+ ; 16+ ; 18+ and Rating Pending.
Comparably, Apple Store has only 4 age based filters: 4+ ; 9+ ; 12+ and 17+.
Who are participating?
As of now, IARC is being backed by the following:
- Australian Government Classified Board
- Classificação Indicativa (ClassInd) – Brazil
- Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) – North America
- Pan European Game Information (PEGI) – Europe
- Unterhaltungssoftware Selbstkontrolle (USK) – Germany
Only two digital storefronts: Google Playstore and Firefox Mozilla have partnered with IARC as of now. In case Apple decided to join this coalition, then it can become the world’s largest such age based rating system.
Benefits of IARC
There are mainly three factors involved in the app ecosystem, and everyone would benefit:
Developers: They will no longer be hassled in getting different age based rating from different agencies. Once a rating has been generated from IARC, its global and can be used everywhere.
Storefronts: Different storefronts like Google need to maintain their own rating system, which can be avoided now. As IARC is being managed by global reviewers and approved by consumers, they can now only focus on their core expertise: which to encourage more interesting apps.
Consumers: The biggest beneficiary would be consumers as they can now safely rely with a rating agency which is globally trusted, and choose the most appropriate applications and games for their kids.
For more in-depth details and procedures to make your app approved as per this new rating, please visit here.