Japan’s Barrier of Entry Just Got Shorter: IARC Rating and Japan

 For years, Japan had had its own unique game rating system called CERO (Computer Entertainment Rating Organization. CERO can be a daunting task for many international game developers/publishers, especially for indie game developers due to the lack of English language support and also because you need to pay CERO a rating fee to get the approved rating.

        But all that can soon change as PlayStation has decided to follow the footsteps of Nintendo and Microsoft and start accepting the widely available and free IARC rating that is done by an international community of gamers. AUTOMATON in it’s recent article stated “In response to our inquiry, Sony Interactive Entertainment confirmed to us that the Japanese PlayStation Store now accepts IARC ratings in addition to the existing CERO ratings. The new operation started on March 9 (JST). Please note that this applies to download-only games, as titles with physical releases still require a CERO rating.

        Now although this is a correct step forward to make more international games available on the PlayStation, there are certain things to take into account:

  1. Since CERO is not part of the IARC community, the IARC rating does not convert to a CERO score but rather remains in the IARC format.
  2. CERO is still required for physical versions of all consoles no matter what.
  3. CERO would still be required for any game that has an IARC rating of 18+ to make sure no adult game gets in the hands of young audiences.

        If you are a big game developer or publisher, this change would not bother you much but if you are an indie developer/publisher who has been wanting to bring their game to Japan, this free IARC rating is really going to help boost your sales and explore a new market.

        For those of you who still require the CERO process whether it is for a physical version or for an 18+ game, don’t worry AGM has got you covered. We can help you with the tedious CERO process from start to finish and get your game in the Japanese market through our localization and promotion skills as well. Now that all major digital platforms accept the IARC rating, we can expect to see an influx of games from international creators in Japan and more games is always good news for the consumer.

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