Microsoft booting apps from Windows Store that fall outside age rating system

microsoft boost non compliant apps windows store iarc rating laptop
There’s nothing more annoying than an online store packed full of unsupported apps. They clog up the search engine when hunting down legitimate updated apps, and may not work correctly due to ignored bugs and/or a lack of optimization. They may even be outdated and long abandoned because the developer moved on to something else. Microsoft feels your pain, and is now removing some abandoned apps on the Windows Store — though not on the basis of bugs or a lack of updates.

Instead, these apps are being booted because they don’t fall under the new International Age Rating Coalition (IARC) rating system. Microsoft informed developers months ago that their public and private apps needed to be updated to meet the new age rating. Those that didn’t comply would face having their apps kicked off the Windows Store on September 30.

Instead of a localized age rating system like the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) system, the IARC provides a global, unified platform for games and apps so that customers from around the world know the age requirements for the software. The IARC was established in 2013, and makes it easy for developers to obtain age ratings from different regions. All developers need to do is answer a five-minute questionnaire about the app’s content and interactive elements.

“The questionnaire is programmed with unique algorithms that generate ratings reflecting each participating rating authority’s distinct standards, along with a generic rating for the rest of the world,” the IRAC explains. “IARC rating assignments also include content descriptors and interactive elements identifying apps that collect and share location or personal information, enable user interaction, share user-generated content, and/or offer in-app digital purchases.”

According to Microsoft, the first question asks a developer to choose a category that best describes the app. After that, specific questions will appear based on the developer’s previous answer. If a developer makes a mistake, he/she must go back to the beginning and start all over again to provide the correct answers. The app’s assigned ratings will then appear and the developer can continue to submit the app.

Microsoft’s requirement to comply falls under Content Policies 11.11 “Mandatory Age Ratings.” The company warned developers of the potential app removals in June through an email. The email appeared to be Microsoft’s last attempt to warn developers of the impending removal of their apps, stating that “we notified you several times to complete the Dev Center age rating questionnaire for your apps that did not have ratings based on the questionnaire.”

Previously, Microsoft’s Windows Store provided five ratings for apps and games: 3+ (suitable for young children), 7+ (suitable for ages 7 and older), 12+ (suitable for ages 12 and older), 16+ (suitable for ages 16 and older), and 18+ (suitable for adults). However, because the IARC is international, the unified age rating system will be different for each region.

The IARC is the result of a collaboration between a number of rating authorities including the Australian Classification Board, Brazil’s ClassLnd, Germany’s USK, Europe’s PEGI, and the local ESRB here in the United States. Storefronts participating in the IARC ratings program include Google Play, Nintendo’s eShop, and the Windows Store.

Computing

Printing to PDF in Windows is easy, no matter which method you use

Microsoft's latest operating system makes it easier than ever to print to PDF in Windows, but there are alternative methods for doing so, even if you want to forgo Adobe Acrobat. Here's how.
Mobile

The 100 best Android apps turn your phone into a jack-of-all-trades

Choosing which apps to download is tricky, especially given how enormous and cluttered the Google Play Store has become. We rounded up 100 of the best Android apps and divided them neatly, with each suited for a different occasion.
Mobile

These 100 best iPhone apps will turn your phone into a jack-of-all-trades

The iPhone is the most popular smartphone in the world, and we want to bring out the best in yours. Behold our comprehensive list of the best iPhone apps, from time-saving productivity tools to fun apps you won’t be able to put down.
Computing

These 30 useful apps are absolutely essential for Mac lovers

There are literally hundreds of thousands of great software programs compatible with MacOS, but which should you download? Look no further than our list of the best Mac apps you can find for the latest MacOS and how they can help out your…
Computing

These Windows 10 keyboard shortcuts will update your OG Windows skills

Windows 10 has many new features, and they come flanked with useful new keyboard shortcuts. Check out some of the new Windows 10 keyboard shortcuts to improve your user experience.
Computing

Protecting your PDF with a password isn't difficult. Just follow these steps

If you need to learn how to password protect a PDF, you have come to the right place. This guide will walk you through the process of protecting your documents step-by-step, whether you're running a MacOS or Windows machine.
Apple

iPhone users are finding themselves randomly locked out of their Apple ID

According to posts on Reddit and Twitter, it looks like users on Reddit and Twitter having some issues with their Apple accounts. Specifically, it seems as though users are getting randomly locked out of their Apple IDs.
Computing

Don't know what to do with all your old DVDs? Here's how to convert them to MP4

Given today's rapid technological advancements, physical discs are quickly becoming a thing of the past. Check out our guide on how to convert a DVD to MP4, so you can ditch discs for digital files.
Computing

Here’s how to install Windows on a Chromebook

If you want to push the functionality of your new Chromebook to another level, and Linux isn't really your deal, you can try installing Windows on a Chromebook. Here's how to do so, just in case you're looking to nab some Windows-only…
Photography

Edit portraits with A.I. and adjust focus in the new ON1 Photo RAW 2019 editor

ON1 Photo RAW 2019 now has a dedicated tab for portraits that automatically recognizes faces to help with retouching. The update also brings a new focus stacking tool, enhancements to layers, and improvements to local adjustments.
Computing

Your MacBook can live in the lap of luxury with this leather case

Though there are several cases which we think are best for covering up MacBooks, Twelve South's Journal case is one of the newest available, providing luxurious leather coverage for your Apple laptop.
Music

Here's our head-to-head comparison of Pandora and Spotify

Which music streaming platform is best for you? We pit Spotify versus Pandora, two mighty streaming services with on-demand music and massive catalogs, comparing every facet of the two services to help you decide which is best.
Computing

15-inch MacBook Pro gets more powerful with new AMD Vega GPUs

Confirming Apple's quiet October announcement, new configurations for the top-range 15-inch Apple MacBook laptop are now available, coming complete with AMD Pro Vega 16 or Pro Vega 20 graphics cards on board.
Emerging Tech

Intel’s new ‘neural network on a stick’ aims to unchain A.I. from the internet

To kick off its first developer conference in Beijing, Intel unveiled the second generation of its Neural Compute Stick -- a device that promises to democratize the development of computer vision A.I. applications.