These are major strives forward to better protect the community against fraudulent software submitted to the Play Store and any content that may be inappropriate for certain age groups. Previously, Google relied on fully automated systems to approve apps and games submitted by developers.
The added age-based ratings system will provide consumers with an added layer of security when it comes to deciding as to whether or not said content is suitable. From the official announcement:
"Today we're introducing a new age-based rating system for apps and games on Google Play. We know that people in different countries have different ideas about what content is appropriate for kids, teens and adults, so today's announcement will help developers better label their apps for the right audience."
Google will be relying on developers to better label their apps and games for the correct audience, which is hoped to improve app discovery and engagement by allowing consumers to select content that they wish to have access to. Developers are able to complete a content rating questionnaire for each app and game submitted to the store.
Google's new rating system includes official ratings from various international bodies, including the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) and Pan-European Game Information (PEGI). Regions not covered by a specific authority will instead display a generic, age-based rating. This improvement will roll out to consumers in the coming weeks. Should you be a parent, we've looked at how you can better protect your child by controlling what they see on the store.
It's quite the change for developers, especially since "unrated" content may be blocked in certain territories or for specific consumers. Commencing in May, Google will make the ratings questionable a requirement prior to being published on the Google Play Store.
As touched on above, the company will be manually reviewing submitted content and will be ensuring that developers see no change in the time it takes for their apps and games to hit the store. Google boasts a matter of hours for review teams to approve apps. Should your app happen to be rejected, Google will now offer more information as to why, as well as how the issue can be easily addressed.
For more details, see the official blog post linked below.