As game developers, as is the case in any medium, we wish to bring our products to as many people as possible. At the same time, we have to make sure that our games abide to certain ethical standards and rules.
Therefore, be sure to check the content of your games against the cultural rules of all the regions they are being distributed to. What might be regarded as inoffensive locally could be offensive in other parts of the world. Compliance with age ratings helps you to contribute to the protection of minors. Parents are guided when recommending games to likeminded parents and buying your games for their children. Your games are more likely to gain visibility, positive publicity and a better reputation.
The SGDA, following the standard of the SIEA (Swiss Interactive Entertainment Association), recommends to use the PEGI (Pan European Game Information) rating, a coherent label and well known among parents.
- When my game is to be released on consoles (Playstation, XBOX, Wii, etc.), digitally or in retail, a close collaboration with platform holders and publishers has been sought. They are in charge of managing the release and make sure that the age rating complies with international and regional standards.
- When I am using a digital storefront (i.e. Google Play Store) I am aware of the IARC (International Age Rating Coalition) rating system. This rating system is a collaboration of all regional ratings and is implemented in the storefront. I have answered the questions about the game on the IARC form in the respective storefront and have received rating labels for each region by the IARC system.
- At the time of writing of this checklist, Steam does not use in-system age rating system. If my game is not deployed to another storefront from which I can get an age rating, an 18 rating or Rating Pending has been considered.
- The age rating of my game is never based on my guess, but always on the regional rules.
- In case of doubt on which rating standard to use, PEGI is used after the game has been rated.
- When my game is distributed only in specific regions, other standards like ESRB (North America) or USK (Germany) are considered. If my game is published in retail in Germany, USK is legally binding. For online titles an USK label can be acquired via IARC but is not legally binding.
- If a rating has already been assigned to my game, the rating is visible on my game’s website, in the trailer or presskit, and in other communication channels where appropriate. If no rating has been assigned yet, either an 18 rating is used or Rating Pending.
- In case of doubt I have answered the questions on the IARC form in the respective storefront in a way that the result is a higher age rating. I am aware that IARC performs quality checks on the ratings.
- I show the PEGI rating of my games on my booth at exhibitions. I am aware that in Germany, the USK rating on the booth is mandatory. I have informed myself of age limits of the festivals I visit. I make sure that no players which are too young of age can access my booth and play my games.