Aussie developer alarmed about mobile app classification

Local mobile app developer says Federal Government's proposed changes could be costly

Australian mobile app developer mogeneration believes that although classification for mobile phone apps is "necessary", the measures currently in place are suitable for now.

Creator of popular iPhone apps such as CoastalWatch and Food Watch, mogeneration says that the Apple does an adequate job in ensuring that classification is consistent and that any drastic changes would force a rethink for the industry. Earlier this week, the Australian Labor Party revealed that classification of mobile phone games could be introduced soon.

"If the Government system was notably different it would be a big problem, enough to make us consider not releasing apps for Australia," said mogeneration CEO Keith Ahern.

"Apple already has a great classification system in place for music, movies and apps and the classifications are enforced across laptops, iPads, iPod Touch portable media players and iPhones. Apple actually verifies the app meets the classifications so as Apple developers, we are already classifying apps," he said.

In addition to concerns over any government-enforced classification, Ahern believes local app developers would not hesitate in moving their business out of Australia if fees were too high. "Increased costs for the young and competitive industry of app production would drive production offshore."

Ahern indicated that Apple's current classification process is low cost and a government-run classification system for apps would have a profound economic impact on businesses. "I'm quite happy with the Apple solution which basically means we pay US$99 to be an Apple developer for one year. We simply submit an app under our anticipated classification and Apple verifies it. That's cheap and I don't have much faith in the government providing a low friction, low cost classification process."

Under current fees outlined by the Classification Board it could cost a developer up to $2040 for a computer game to gain classification.