Michael Gallagher of the Entertainment Software Association thinks that the iPhone's App Store needs to implement some kind of ratings system, though how exactly it would work remains somewhat unclear.
There are literally thousands of applications of applications of the iPhone's App Store. A good number of them are harmless novelties (like the numerous fart apps) whereas some of them might be construed as inappropriate for youngsters (iBeer and its variants would probably raise a few eyebrows of concerned parents). Thus far, Apple hasn't implemented any kind of rating system like the ESRB, but the Entertainment Software Association thinks it needs to happen.
"We've been down this road before, the Entertainment Software industry, we know how this goes and it's wise for (Apple) to make steps in that direction so that this is addressed up front and there is an environment that is hospitable to children and families," ESA CEO Michael Gallagher said. "It would be wise to do that, we would welcome the opportunity to work with them, we are reaching out to encourage that."
So does the ESA propose that Apple have every single app that goes through its pipes put to some sort of rating system? Not exactly. "That doesn't mean that every entrepreneur, every software engine that is able to write code and put up an app on the App Store is going to go through this process, it simply says that if a game is rated it needs to pass through and be filtered appropriately by the controls that are on the iPhone," Gallagher said.
I can see how that would work. Parents would naturally start to gravitate toward the rated games while keeping their distance from unrated fare, which would encourage any app maker who wants to hit a family friendly audience to volunteer their game for rating, even if it's harmless, just to give it the label of something that's been authorized as safe.
Not that kids should even have iPhones or iPod Touches. I mean, really. Back in my day we were happy listening to the radio and playing with LEGOs. You didn't need rating systems for those.