Tuesday, 7 February 2017


IARC, or the International Age Rating Coalition, is a global ratings system for digitally delivered games and apps; the idea being that consumers have broad access to established, credible and locally relevant ratings for interactive entertainment products across a variety of platforms, most notably phones and tablets.  Member bodies include the ESRB (USA), PEGI (Europe), the USK (Germany), ClassInd (Brazil) and the ACB (Australia).

The system has been operating since 2012, but has gathered much more pace in the last couple of years or so.  Here at the GRA we have a primary IARC person in the form of “Sarah”.  Rather than giving you a dry overview of the system (which you can read about anyway on the IARC website), I thought it might be more worthwhile (and more interesting) to get it from the ‘horse’s mouth’ as it were.  Therefore, and without further ado, I give you Sarah and the wonderful world of IARC!

Me: What’s your role at the GRA?

Sarah: I test assorted apps and apply the appropriate rating under the IARC system.

Me: Briefly, explain what IARC ratings are?

Sarah: IARC is a global ratings system which, for UK and Europe, include criteria laid down by the PEGI system.  The basic job is to let users – more notably parents and carers – know whether a particular app is suitable for a specific age group.  The IARC system incorporates video games ratings bodies from around the world.

Me:  What kind of apps do you test?

Sarah: All sorts! More specifically, it tends to be mostly games though I also test utility, social networking and reference apps.

Me: How do you rate the apps?

Sarah: I will take a look at the product page either on Google Play, Microsoft or Oculus.  If there is insufficient information, I will also research the app through other means and physically test the app on a tablet.  Like video games, I will be looking for the usual suspects; sex, violence, nudity, bad language, etc.

Me:  What’s the weirdest app you’ve had to rate?

Sarah: That honour goes to the “button”.  It was literally a red button which you pressed and which did absolutely nothing, not even a sound! 

Me: Are you the only IARC rater in the UK?

Sarah:  Not really.  I am the primary IARC tester, but other colleagues also test apps as necessary.

Me:  How many apps do you rate in a year?

Sarah: I’m not sure, but I guess I average 20-25 apps per day.

Me:  What are your favourite type of app?

Sarah:  I really like the time management games such as World Chef or the Simpson’s Tapped Out.  They require a bit more thought than all the shooters.

Me:   Will this job ever make you a millionaire?

Sarah:  Probably not.

My thanks to Sarah for taking the time out to answer a few questions.  I hope you found it insightful too and remember, if you have a view or question then drop me a line.  See you next month!

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