It looks like RIM is getting a head start on those ESRB ratings coming to apps. BlackBerry App World will soon have a system in place so devs can mark their creations as appropriate for general, teen, mature, or adult audiences. By default, apps will get a G rating, while a variety that fit a certain keyword and category criteria will automatically get a Teen rating. Antsy parents can set visibility and access in App World on their kids’ phone based on these ratings, too. Developers can figure out what to rate their app with a tool which surveys use of violence, sexual content, language, alcohol, tobacco, drugs, and gambling, as well as minimum age requirements, and access to user-generated content.
Steve Jobs was always of the opinion that porn had no place in the iOS App Store, but maybe with a full-spectrum rating system and some age verification system (like IDology, or something similar), maybe RIM could provide a haven for such a huge and booming app business. After all, BlackBerry is all about authentication and security – shouldn’t it be able to ensure if someone is 18 or not? Another challenge is geography. What constitutes “adult” or “mature” content will vary wildly by country, and RIM has a lot of business around the world.
Whatever RIM decides to do with age ratings in the long haul, the BlackBerry App World 3.1 update will roll out on December 15th., with server updates starting today.