International Age Rating Coalition

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The International Age Rating Coalition (IARC) is an initiative aimed at streamlining acquisition of content ratings for video games, from authorities of different countries. Introduced in 2013, the IARC system simplifies the process of obtaining ratings by developers, through the use of questionnaires, which assess the content of the product.[1][2] This new process reduces the costs of video game developers as they seek to obtain ratings for their products that are distributed digitally online.[3]

The effort was created through a coalition of rating authorities from around the world, including ESRB in North America, PEGI in Europe, USK in Germany, ClassInd in Brazil, and the Australian Classification Board, and first announced at the 2013 London Games Conference.[4] In August 2014, the Australian Classification Board introduced amendments to allow for the automated classification process employed by the IARC.[5] On 19 December 2017, South Korea's Game Rating and Administration Committee (GRAC) became a member.

IARC generic rating system[edit]

In addition to obtaining official age ratings from the coalition members, developers applying via IARC's process would also get a complimentary generic age rating for their software under IARC's name at any of the participating digital storefronts. These generic ratings can apply to any territory that does not have its own rating system and/or is not formally supported by any existing age rating bodies in the world. The rating also applies to territories whose own local rating body is not officially part of IARC's system yet, notably such as Japan's CERO rating. IARC plans to introduce this generic rating system into more storefronts in hopes of streamlining the age rating process for game developers. Storefronts that currently support IARC and its generic rating system include Google Play, Microsoft Store (both PC and Xbox versions), Nintendo eShop,[6][a] Oculus Store, PlayStation Store, and Origin. The IARC age ratings are the following:

Icon Rating Description
IARC 3+.svg 3+ Video game or software content suitable for ages 3 and above only.
IARC 7+.svg 7+ Video game or software content suitable for ages 7 and above only.
IARC 12+.svg 12+ Video game or software content suitable for ages 12 and above only.
IARC 16+.svg 16+ Video game or software content suitable for ages 16 and above only.
IARC 18+.svg 18+ Video game or software content suitable for ages 18 and above only.

Rating Standard[edit]

The classification standard adopted by IARC is the same as that of PEGI

Comparison table[edit]

A comparison of participants, showing age on the horizontal axis. Note however that the specific criteria used in assigning a classification can vary widely from one country to another. Thus a color code or age range cannot be directly compared from one country to another.


  •  White No restrictions: Suitable for all ages / Aimed at young audiences / Exempt / Not rated / No applicable rating.
  •  Yellow No restrictions: Parental guidance is suggested for designated age range.
  •  Purple No restrictions: Not recommended for a younger audience but not restricted.
  •  Red Restricted: Parental accompaniment required for younger audiences.
  •  Black Prohibitive: Exclusively for older audience / Purchase age-restricted / Banned.
Region/Participant 0/1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 Other Notes
Australia (Australian Classification Board) G M R 18+ RC The restricted categories are MA 15+ and R 18+; the latter was introduced for video games at the start of 2013.
Brazil (ClassInd) L 10 12 14 16 18 N/A The same rating system is used for television and motion pictures in Brazil.
E E10+ T M AO RP This was adopted in 1994 in the United States, most of Canada, and Mexico. The E10+ rating was first used in early 2005. Games rated RP (Rating Pending) do not yet have a rating. Legally enforced in Ontario and Manitoba.
Germany (USK) 0 6 12 12 16 18 BPjM restricted
No labelling
IARC Generic 3 7 12 16 18 N/A Used in most countries that aren't represented by a participating rating authority.[citation needed]
 South Africa
3 7 12 16 18 N/A Legally enforced in some countries (but not all).
7 12 16 18
Portugal (PEGI) 4 6 12 16 18 N/A Portugal uses a modified version of PEGI.
South Korea (GRAC) ALL 12 15 18 Refused classification Some app stores require 18 + games to apply for a GRAC rating in order to be available in South Korea


  1. ^ Nintendo adopted IARC's integrated questionnaire into the eShop worldwide in 2015, but Nintendo would not implement IARC's generic rating system for Japan, as a substitute rating for download-only titles lacking a CERO rating, until October 2020 at least for the Nintendo Switch eShop games.[7][8]


  1. ^ "About the International Age Rating Coalition - IARC".
  2. ^ Serrels, Mark. "The Government Is In The Process Of Changing How We Classify Games".
  3. ^ "The IARC explained, and why you should care: How streamlining classification will change the culture of games censorship". Archived from the original on 19 April 2014.
  4. ^ "New International Age Ratings System Launching Worldwide Next Year - Video Game Deals & UK News -". Archived from the original on 22 March 2016. Retrieved 1 September 2014.
  5. ^ Reilly, Luke (1 September 2014). "Getting Digitally-Distributed Games Classified in Australia to Be Cost-Free".
  6. ^ Whitehead, Thomas (8 June 2015). "USK Reiterates That IARC, A Quick and Global Age Ratings Option, Will Come to the eShop". Nintendo Life. Retrieved 25 April 2021.
  7. ^ Gueed (8 October 2020). "任天堂,「IARC汎用レーティング」による年齢区分を行ったソフトの国内配信を開始。CEROレーティングマークなし". Retrieved 25 April 2021.
  8. ^ Cooper, Brian (9 October 2020). "Japanese Switch eShop Adds IARC Ratings". Japanese Nintendo. Retrieved 25 April 2021.

External links[edit]