Japan’s Computer Entertainment Rating Organization (CERO) has suspended its review process after the Japanese government declared a state of emergency amid COVID-19 pandemic.
“Since reviewers visit our office to conduct review[s], it is not possible for our staff and reviewer[s] to work from home,” the organization said. “For this reason, all operations, including review (including those under review), will be suspended from today until May 6. All staff will be on standby at home, and the office will be closed during this time. We will announce the resumption of business on our website. We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience this may cause you, and thank you for your understanding.”
CERO, via Notice of Temporary Closure
Apparently, “Many companies in Japan are either not structured to allow for remote work (even though it would be possible in principle) or are simply not willing to do so,” Kantan Games analyst Dr. Serkan Toto told GameDaily.
Currently, the state of emergency in Japan is in place until May 6, but this could be extended. In the meantime, no console or PC games can be sold in the country without a CERO rating. The ramifications of the closure for Japan’s video game economy could be quite devastating. However, the clouse does not affect the mobile market, which doesn’t require a rating from the organization. This is something of silver lining considering that “smartphone gaming in Japan is about three times bigger than video gaming,” according to Toto.