Age rating applications for the Intel Atom Developer Program

One way that the Intel Atom Developer Program and its forthcoming application stores adds value is through its validation: customers will be able to buy applications in the knowledge that they have been tested and approved by Intel. For a developer, it means there are specific guidelines they need to satisfy before they can sell their work through application stores powered by the Intel Atom Developer Program Store Framework.

When they submit an application, developers must first rate which age segments it is appropriate for. The guidelines include clear guidance on what kinds of content are suitable for which age groups, with specific reference to levels of violence, sexual activity and the handling of personal data.

Although it doesn’t say so in the IADP validation guidelines, I think it’s important to draw a distinction between the minimum maturity required to view particular content, and the target market of an application. You might have an office application, for example, which has no objectionable content and so could earn a 3+ rating, even though most users are likely to be adults. Conversely, you might have a puzzle game that’s simple enough for tots to master, but which includes objectionable language in the game over sequence, which would restrict its rating to at least 10+.

From a marketing perspective, it makes sense to ensure your applications have as broad appeal as possible, which means limiting the use of strong language, violence, nudity or other more mature themes. If you’ve created a war game that uses realistic animated deaths of soldiers, for example, you could broaden the game from 17+ to 10+ or even 6+ if you used an aliens vs Earth scenario instead. Violence against fantasy figures is acceptable in the 6+ and 10+ categories, but violence towards humans or animals requires a 13+ rating. The question for the developer is whether the game will have more appeal to older players if the characters are more realistic, and whether that will result in more sales overall despite a smaller potential market.

Adult-only sexual content is not permitted in the application in any context, although mild sexual content and nudity for educational purposes may be permitted.

Here is the current guidance on age ratings from the validation guidelines:

Rating Applications with this rating may contain…

3+
  • Content that is generally considered suitable for children three years of age and older
  • No content that parents or educators would find objectionable
  • No collection of personal data

6+
  • Mild or infrequent acts of violence to fantasy characters (e.g. cartoons and animation)
  • Minimal advertising suitable for children
  • No collection of personal data

10+
  • Mild or infrequent acts of violence to fantasy characters (e.g. cartoons and animation)
  • Mild or infrequent depictions of weapons or their use
  • Mild expletives or strong language
  • Minimal content that may set a bad example for children: teaches or encourages children to perform harmful acts or imitate dangerous behavior
  • Minimal content that creates feelings of fear, intimidation, horror or psychological terror
  • Minimal advertising suitable for children
  • No collection of personal data

13+
  • Infrequent depictions of mild sexual material (e.g. passionate kissing)
  • Frequent or intense depictions of violence against fantasy characters (e.g. cartoons and animation)
  • Mild or infrequent depictions of violence against humans or animals (e.g. death, killing, dismemberment, torture)
  • Frequent or intense depictions of weapons or their use
  • Mild or infrequent use of vulgar or abusive language or swearing
  • Gambling
  • Access to moderated and unmoderated user-generated content (e.g. chat rooms, instant messages, email, etc.)
  • Advertising
  • Collection of personal data (e.g. e-mail addresses, etc.)

17+
  • Frequent or intense depictions of mild sexual material; violence; potentially offensive language; potentially harmful activities, including depictions of
    tobacco or its use, alcohol or its use, recreational drugs or their use; potentially disturbing material or content that assumes an adult audience
  • Access to or depictions of nudity or sexual material in an artistic, artistic literature, educational, medical, news, or religious context
  • Unfiltered access to internet

18+THIS CONTENT IS NOT ALLOWED 

  • Content that generally falls under the category of pornography
    • Nudity or sexual material (e.g. exposed breasts, bare buttocks, visible genitals, visible sexual touching, explicit sexual language, erections/explicit sexual acts, bondage/SM, erotica)
    • Content that depicts or suggests prostitution
    • Depictions of sexual fetishes
    • Content of a sexual nature depicting children or animals

For the latest guidelines on age ratings and other validation requirements, see the latest version of the Intel Atom Developer Program validation guidelines.

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