The U.S. gaming industry's non-profit, self-regulatory ratings board, the ESRB, is launching a new Digital Rating Service designed to evaluate the considerable amount of content that is released for download through online storefronts. Ratings for digital distribution-only games will be assigned based on the responses given in a "brief but detailed online questionnaire."
More importantly for consumers, the new questionnaire will also take into account the changing landscape of interactive entertainment. Ratings will now assess online features that share personal info or location info as well as the presentation and accessibility of user-generated content.
The new Digital Rating Service will cover the range of console and PC storefronts, including Xbox Live Arcade, PlayStation Network (including PlayStation Mobile-certified devices), Nintendo eShop, and Windows 8.