Giving your app an age rating
Learn how to apply age ratings to your app. You must give each app that you list in the Windows Store an age rating that describes the audience for which it is suitable.
In some countries/regions, a game app must also be rated by a rating board before you can sell it there. You can submit the required certificates on the Ratings page.
Note For some games, you have to include a game definition file (GDF) in the app package. This depends on the country in which you want to sell your game. For more info about the GDF syntax and tools, see obtaining a game rating certificate and creating a GDF file.
You must give an age rating for your app to publish it in the Windows Store, even if the app has been rated by a ratings board.
When picking the Windows Store age rating for your app, consider the content that you are providing with your app, and the content that your app shows, if it can display content from external sources. Also, consider the images that might appear when the app opens.
In addition to the content your app displays, consider other aspects of your app's functionality. For example if an app connects to a service that has a minimum age requirement, you must consider that requirement along with the content when picking the age rating.
In any case, pick the Windows Store age rating that represents the strictest age requirement to protect the younger audiences. For example, if you have an app with content that is appropriate for audiences who are 13 years old or older, but it uses an account on a service that requires members be 16 years old or older, your Windows Store age rating would be 16+.
Important If your app has an age rating issued by a ratings board, you must select the Windows Store age rating that corresponds to it.
Here are the age ratings used in the Windows Store and a general description of the content that such an app could have.
These apps are appropriate for young children. There may be minimal comic violence in non-realistic, cartoon form. Characters should not resemble or be associated with real life characters. There should be no content that could be frightening, and there should be no nudity or references to sexual or criminal activity. Apps with this age rating also cannot enable features that could access content or functionality unsuitable for young children, such as uncontrolled online sharing of information such as that described under the 12+ ratings category.
Apps with this age rating have the same criteria as the 3+ applications, except these apps can include content that might frighten a younger audience and can contain partial nudity, as long as the nudity doesn't refer to sexual activity.
Choose this rating if you are not sure which age rating to select for your app. Apps with this age rating can contain increased nudity of a non-sexual nature, slightly graphic violence towards non-realistic characters, or non-graphic violence towards realistic human or animal characters. This age rating might also include profanity, but not of a sexual nature. Also, apps with this age rating or higher may allow for uncontrolled: (i) access to online social networks, or (ii) sharing of personal info with third parties, including other gamers or online acquaintances. For such activity to be considered controlled, your app must include parental control features that require parental permission to use such sharing features, and you must identify those and explain their functionality in the Notes to testers.
Apps with this age rating can depict realistic violence with minimal blood, and they can depict sexual activity. They can also contain drug or tobacco use and criminal activities, and more profanity than would be allowed in a 12+ app, within the limits laid out in section 5 of the certification requirements.
Content that is intended for adults-only audiences, and apps that have received an adults-only rating by a ratings board, cannot be listed or sold in the Windows Store.
For games, you may need to provide additional rating info or rating certificates, depending on where you want to sell your app.
Tip If your app has ratings from different countries that correspond to different Windows Store age ratings, consider submitting the app as different apps and list each in the market that corresponds to the certificate. That way you can pick the Windows Store age rating that corresponds to the rating certificate required by that market. If you don't do this, you would need to pick the oldest Windows Store age rating for the app, which could limit your app's potential audience size.
Important The app’s purpose, rather than its listing category in the Windows Store, determines whether it is a game for this requirement. We can't certify your game if it doesn't include the required documentation.
For Windows Store apps that provide rating info, you must:
- Define the game’s ratings in a game definition file (GDF) that you include in the app’s package.
- Submit the rating certificates from the rating boards.
For desktop apps, you must upload the GDF file and certificate files in the Age rating and rating certificate page.
For more info about the GDF syntax and tools, see Windows game publishing requirements.
Here are the rating boards that the Windows Store recognizes.
- PEGI - Pan European Game Information
- ESRB - Entertainment Software Rating Board
- CERO - Computer Entertainment Rating Organization
- GRB - Game Rating Board
- USK - Unterhaltungssoftware Selbstkontrolle (Entertainment Software Self-Regulation)
- DJCTQ - Departamento de Justiça, Classificação, Títulos e Qualificação
- COB – Classification Operations Board
- OFLC-NZ – Office of Film and Literature Classification
- FPB – Film and Publication Board
- CSRR - Computer Software Rating Regulation
Build date: 9/18/2012