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Vista Games Explorer FUD

Former Microsoftie Alex St. John, who developed DirectX in the 90s and runs casual games developer Wild Tangent, is spreading doom and gloom about casual game development for Windows Vista. St. John claims that Windows Vista’s Games Explorer requires ESRB ratings, which will skyrocket development costs for casual games by requiring them to pay the ESRB thousands for the ratings. If they don’t pay it, their games won’t work on systems where parents have enabled parental controls.

He’s wrong, of course, for three reasons:

  • No game is required to be in the Games Explorer. It is merely a convenience. If you don’t pay for the rating, just don’t put your game in there.
  • As far as I can tell, you can just lie about the ratings. The Games Explorer gets its ESRB ratings from a descriptor file, and I don’t see any way for that file to be verified. As long as your fake rating isn’t a lie (don’t claim your porno game is for all ages), I doubt you are going to run into much trouble.
  • The Games Explorer is participatory with parents. Even if you choose to put your game in the Games Explorer, and include the flag that it has no rating, the system is designed to work with parents, not “set it and forget it”. If a child needs to run a game that is blocked by parental controls, it takes a click or three to enable that game, forever, in the same parental controls.

Like I said, there really is nothing to worry about. Perhaps St. John is trying to scare his competitors, who aren’t as big or financially resourceful as he is, into spending their meager budgets on ESRB ratings? That, or he’s just panicking.
(via Kotaku)

While we’re still on the subject of casual games, one Microsoft guy is working on another XNA Framework game called “Microbe Patrol”. It’s a free, tiny download for those with XNA installed, and development is ongoing, to pick it up now and you can probably contribute to the direction it heads in.

January 15th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | General, Windows, Vista, Developers | no comments
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