Nintendo will now allow Japanese consumers to purchase IARC rated titles through the Nintendo eShop. However, this will only extend to digital downloads; physical releases will still need to obtain a CERO rating. [Thanks, Game Watch and Automaton!]
Developers looking to deliver titles through the Nintendo eShop will no longer be required to obtain a CERO rating for digital releases. There are still some stipulations to this, however. Developers that plan to release Mature-rated games will still be required to obtain a CERO rating even for digital releases.
The International Age Rating Coalition (or IARC) is an initiative by members of the ESRB, PEGI, and USK, to name a few, that have streamlined the process of acquiring content ratings for games. Examinations for ratings through the IARC are free, meaning this can help independent developers curve some of their development costs for digital-only releases.
Since CERO is not part of the IARC, developers would need to submit their product for review separately. Nintendo isn’t the only developer allowing IARC rated titles to hit their digital storefronts. Microsoft is also part of this initiative. Games released digitally with IARC ratings through Microsoft storefronts are available to purchase without the CERO rating.
In an article by Automaton Media, the breakdown of this new initiative states that Nintendo had changed their policy in relation to the publishing of IARC rated games onto the Nintendo eShop in September.
In late September, Nintendo released a statement reminding users to charge their Nintendo Switch once every six months.