Completing the Age Rating survey in the proper way on the Dev Center
If you are a developer that has published an application on the Store, no matter if it’s a pure UWP or a converted app through the Desktop Bridge, you’ll know that, to comply with the laws that every country have issued to protect young people to access to apps and games with content which isn’t suitable for them, you’ll have to complete a step called Age Ratings.
This step (which is described in the official documentation at the URL https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/uwp/publish/age-ratings) will ask you to complete a questionnaire, which will be used by the IARC (International Age Ratings Coalition) to assign the proper age and content rating to your application or your game. The advantage of this new approach, compared to the past, is that, based on the answers you’ll provide about the type and the content of your app, IARC will automatically generate all the ratings certificates which are required by each different country or region (you can see, in the previous image, that after the completion of the step there are many symbols displayed, one for each main rating agency).
Completing this questionnaire is quite simple: you will have first to choose the category which fits best your application (Reference, News or Educational, Social networking, Game, etc.) and then you will have to answer some questions about the content you have included (if it contains violence, sexuality, gambling, etc. references). Based on the answers, the app or the game will receive an age rating and a younger user won’t be allowed to buy or download it.
However, there’s a recent change that can lead some developers to a bit of confusion and, since I came across this mistake by myself, I’ve decided to share my experience so that you can save some time. Since a few days, the IARC questionnaire is still able to automatically generate a certificate valid for all the existing countries / rating agencies, except one: South Korea. If you want to sell a game in South Korea, you will have to manually provide a specific certificate, provided by the South Korean authority, otherwise you won’t be able to continue the publishing process. It’s important to highlight that this requirement applies only to games: if it’s an application or if you decide to not sell your game in South Korea, there are no extra steps to take other than completing the standard IARC questionnaire.
However, this new requirement may generate some confusion even if it doesn’t apply to your case (because, for example, you’re submitting an app and not a game): at the end of the questionnaire, in fact, you will find the following section.
Instinctively, you would probably be inclined to choose in the dropdown the All value, which will open up the following section:
However, this way you will be forced (as highlighted by the red border) to provide the PDF with the certificate that has been issued by the South Korea Game Rating Board. As such, if you press the Save and generate button, you will be redirected to the app submission page with a bad surprise:
As you can see, the Age ratings section will be marked as Incomplete and, even if you complete all the other steps, the button to submit the app on the Store will stay disabled.
Where is the mistake? That providing a certificate for South Korea is not required, unless your app is really a game and you want to make it available also in this country. As such, in the GRB dropdown, you don’t have to choose All, but you need to leave the default value, which is Choose an age, like in the following image:
That’s all: now press the Save and generate button and, this time, you will see a page like the following one, where you can notice that filling the IARC questionnaire has generated the various age rating certificates required by different countries in the world (like DJCTQ for Brazil, ESRB for United States or PEGI for Europe):
At the end of the page you will find a Continue button that, once pressed, will redirect you back to the submission page but, this time, the Age ratings section will be marked as complete, like we’ve seen in the screenshot at the beginning of the post.
I hope this post will help you to save some time during the submission process if you’re publishing an app that satisfies all the standard requirements and that doesn’t need any particular exception for the age rating.