I just read on the AndroidGuys that starting November 30th, all Android Apps on The Market will require one of four levels of ratings: All, Pre-Teen, Teen, and Mature. I suppose this has been a long time coming, considering the fact that we as developers are inherently evil in nature and cannot be trusted to follow the guidelines put forth in the official Developer Content Policy. Give us an inch and we’ll take a mile, right guys? *wink wink, nudge nudge*
All mild sarcasm aside, this new content rating requirement will serve some utility for all of the parents in the Android world, as my spidey senses tell me the parental control apps will soon (if not already) be incorporating this new filter to block the downloading of certain content-rated apps for their children’s phones. Plus one for the over-protective parents sheltering their children from the evils of contemporary American society!
Here’s an interesting question: Will each app’s content rating be applied to the market Globally? Or will we need to define it further down the road to make it country-specific? As we all know, or at least should, some countries view what is “acceptable” or “pornographic” a bit differently, i.e. a few of our buddies located near the Persian Gulf have quite a different view on what is “sexually suggestive”. Now I realize that those countries are not part of the cool kid crowd who can purchase paid apps from The Market (as of 30 September 2010, anyway). But let’s say in the beautiful, beautiful future, they are. If your American-made app has a lady engaging in what we think to be pretty darn normal activities, such as walking down the street with shorts on and without a burka, that may be considered sexually suggestive to some of the more traditional middle-eastern folk, but probably not to us.
How will they overcome this issue in the future? Ignore it? Require country-specific content ratings? Benjamin Franklin said “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure“, well in this case, maybe it will be worth not getting sued from halfway across the world by a Saudi Sheikh.