Apple implemented its own games rating system when it introduced iPhone OS 3.0, one that’s designed to let consumers know what kind of content they’re in for when they buy any kind of software from the App Store. But according to some notable critics, it isn’t enough.
South Korean regulators, for instance only allow games to be sold in the country that are reviewed and rated by the official government Games Ratings Board, and so the Korean App Store actually doesn’t include a “Games” category or any of the apps therein.
The blanket blocking policy isn’t a perfect solution, though, since many games are still available through the “Entertainment” section, or by using the App Stores of other countries, something which is very easy to do using a fake U.S. address and temporary Visa gift card, for example. The Ratings Board is worried about the violent and sexual content that slips through these cracks.
Speaking to the Korea Herald, one official for the video game regulatory group said that they’d approached Apple to discuss the possibility of opening up the App Store’s games to review and classification by the board, but that Apple had yet to respond. As the iPhone continues to gain ground in the South Korean market — some 150,000 units have been sold in the three weeks since it was launched — tension between the Ratings Board and Apple is expected to grow.
Another country notorious for its game ratings, Australia, is also seeking to gain the ability to review content before its offered for sale to consumers via the App Store. Sooner or later, I expect Apple will have to address these requests, but I imagine it’ll wait until some organization or legislation forces its hand.