Games News

 2014: Jan-March



  Glorious mind blowing freedom of all out war...

ASA dismisses whinges that Battlefield 4 adverts glamourised war


Link Here 26th March 2014

Electronic Arts Battlefield 4 PS4 a. A TV ad for the computer game Battlefield 4 included a voice-over which stated, If you're into rushing headlong into chaos, changing the map with one well placed shot, base jumping off of a sky scraper, joy riding tanks and the glorious mind-blowing freedom of all out war. We'll see you there. The ad featured scenes from the game. The ad was given an ex-kids restriction by Clearcast.

b. A VOD ad for the computer game Battlefield 4, which was the same as TV ad (a) was seen on 4OD, ITVplayer and STVplayer.

c. A website ad for the same game on the advertisers own website www.battlefield.com/uk included images of the game and the claims Witness the glorious chaos of all-out war in the Battlefield 4 Multiplayer Launch Trailer and Get intel on the single player campaign and learn about the glorious chaos of all-out war in Battlefield 4 multiplayer . Issue

39 complaints were received.

  1. All complainants objected that ads (a), (b) and (c), particularly the claims the glorious mind-blowing freedom of all out war and the glorious chaos of all-out war were offensive because they glamorised war.

  2. Some of the complainants challenged whether ad (a) had been inappropriately scheduled for broadcast on Remembrance Sunday and on the days around it.

  3. Some of complainants objected that ads (a), (b) and (c) were offensive and disrespectful to servicemen and woman and their families and to ex-members of the armed forces and their families.

  4. Some of complainants challenged whether ad (a) was inappropriate for broadcast when it might be seen by children.

ASA Assessment: Complaints not upheld

1. Not upheld

The ASA noted EA's intention was to draw attention to the multi-player functionality. However, we noted that although website ad (c) included several references to multi-player , TV ad (a) and VOD ad (b) made no clear reference to that functionality. We considered that consumers would understand from the text in ad (c) and the voice-over in ads (a) and (b) (both the words and the way in which they were delivered by the actor with a sense of thrill), alongside the images of footage from the game which included tanks, shooting and explosions both on the battlefield and city streets, that playing at war through the game was exciting and thrilling. Although we understood some consumers would find the voice-over the glorious mind-blowing freedom of all out war in ads (a) and (b) and the text Witness the glorious chaos of all-out war in ad (c) to be distasteful and upsetting, we considered that within the context of the ads in their entirety, those claims would be understood by consumers to be in reference to game-play and not to war itself. We therefore concluded that the ads were not likely to cause serious or widespread offence

2. Not upheld

We noted that some complainants had seen ad (a) on or around Remembrance Sunday but noted no specific complaints were received about the ad being broadcast around programmes specifically dedicated to Remembrance Sunday . Although we understood some consumers found the timing to be distasteful, we considered that the ad would be understood to be about game-play and not war itself and that the broadcast of the ad campaign around this time was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence.

3. Not upheld

Although we understood some consumers, including servicemen and women and their families (along with ex-members of the armed forces) may have found the voice-over the glorious mind-blowing freedom of all out war in ads (a) and (b) and the text Witness the glorious chaos of all-out war in ad (c) to be distasteful and upsetting, we considered that within the context of the ads in their entirety, those claims would be understood to be reference to game-play and not to war itself. We therefore concluded that the ads were not likely to cause serious or widespread offence and that they were not disrespectful to those who had directly experienced or been directly or indirectly affected by war.

4. Not upheld

We noted the ad was given an Ex-kids restriction meaning that it was not broadcast around programmes that were directly targeted at young children. We also noted EA's media buying agency only bought advertising space after 19.30 because the game itself had an PEGI 18 rating. Although we understood some viewers would be concerned that older children may have seen the ad if watching after 19.30, we considered there was nothing within the content of the ad that made it unsuitable for older children and noted the featured game-play did not include footage which directly reflected the given PEGI rating. We therefore considered that the given ex-kids restriction was sufficient. We concluded that ad (a) did not breach the Code.

 

  Less Solid...

Metal Gears Solid: Ground Zeroes censored in Japan


Link Here 22nd March 2014
Metal Gear Solid Ground Zeroes Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes is a 2014 Japan combat game. It is as a prologue to Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain.

Hideo Kojima, in an interview with Weekly Famitsu , mentioned that thanks to the Computer Entertainment Ratings Organization (CERO) , the Japanese video game ratings board, part of the Japanese version has been censored.

That part got flagged by CERO so the production was changed that way, but in the North American version [of Ground Zeroes ] you can see everything, Kojima said when his interviewer expressed amazement of how far the content of Ground Zeroes went.

Reports mention that the missing details are from a waterboarding torture scene. other reports mention a candidate rape scene.

 

 Comment: A Bafta for the Makers of Grand Theft Auto...

And the fine achievement is greeted with nothing but miserable whinges from the likes of Mediawatch-UK


Link Here 17th March 2014  full story: Grand Theft Auto...Grand Theft Auto brings out the nutters
Grand Theft Auto Xbox 360 The British Academy of Film and Television Arts has honoured Rockstar Games, the company behind the Grand Theft Auto series, with its illustrious Fellowship award. They will now be presented with the prize for their revolutionary approach to games . They have also been commended for bringing the medium to the masses .

But this fine achievement is met only with a barrage of whinges from moral campaigners, courtesy of course, the Daily Mail.

Pippa Smith of Safer Media, a religious campaigner against violence, sex and bad language in the media, said:

We have had a lot of concerns about Grand Theft Auto, and we would not agree with this at all. A Bafta Fellowship is a very prestigious award and it is giving out a very dangerous message.

Grand Theft Auto is obviously hugely popular and makes an awful lot of money, so as far as the gaming industry is concerned, it is a big money spinner.

But it is horrifying that they are being recognised in this way. We know for sure that people are affected by the violence in these games, and in this particular case players are even encouraged to kill prostitutes.

Vivienne Pattinson, director of lobby group Mediawatch UK, said:

My biggest criticism is that we know that children who are a lot younger than the age limit of these games are playing them. Gaming companies have a very important role to play in making sure that under-age children are not exposed to these games.

They are marketed in places where children are likely to see them, on the sides of school buses for example, and for Bafta to be giving them an award at a time when there is still a lot of work to be done in protecting children from this kind of violence is wrong.

I can appreciate the quality of these games are good. But we cannot just hold our hands up and say that the content doesn't matter.

Offsite Comment: GTA, The Baftas And How The Daily Mail Make Morons Like Mediawatch-uk Look Even More Ridiculous

the bothersome blog logo 17th March 2013. See comment from bothersomeblogger.wordpress.com

  So the Daily Mail is whipping up outrage over the Grand Theft Auto games being given a BAFTA award. This is a classic example of the Daily Mail trying to make outrage over absoloutly nothing. To demonstrate that there outrage and controversy they've wheeled out two of their favourite rent-a-quotes, Pippa Smith from Safermedia and Vivienne Pattison from Mediawatch-uk.

...Read the full comment

 

 Updated: Anally Sensitive...

Console versions of South Park: The Stick of Truth censored in Europe


Link Here 12th March 2014
South Park The Stick Truth Ubisoft has censored the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions of 18-rated comedy role-playing game South Park: The Stick of Truth in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The PC version remains unaffected.

BT.com reported on a note sent to press alongside copies of the game that revealed the changes, which amount to seven scenes of about 20 seconds each:

  • A mini-game in which the doctor is performing an abortion on the player.
  • A mini-game in which the player is performing an abortion on the character Randy.
  • Five anal probing scenes involving someone actively being probed. The scenes play out as normal before and after the active probing sequences.

Each censored scene is replaced by an image background and a description text selected by South Park creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker, Ubisoft said.

Speculation suggests that the censorship was applied to the entire region to appease the lowest common denominator of game censors, ie those in Germany.

Meanwhile in Australia

See  article from  gameplanet.com.au :

Ubisoft has said in a statement that a cut version of The Stick of Truth has now been accepted by the country's game censor:

A modified version has now been approved for release, under the guidance of R18+. No full sequences have been removed from the game, only small sections amounting to less than five minutes of game play. These modifications in no way detract from the narrative of the game, meaning the player will still enjoy an authentic South Park experience.

Update: Probing for the uncensored footage

4th March 2013. See  article from  escapistmagazine.com
See anal probe scene from YouTube
See abortion scene from YouTube

south park anal probe video An escapistmagazine.com columnists writes:

South Park wouldn't be South Park without a healthy dose of controversy, so it should come as no surprise that the just-released Stick of Truth South Park video game has its fair share. Originally, when it was revealed that the game would be censored in Australia, absolutely no-one was surprised, as Australia censors pretty much everything these days. What was a little more surprising was the news that the same offending scenes would be cut from the European versions of the game.

Thankfully, for all our Australian, European, African and Middle Eastern Escapists, the review copy I received was completely uncensored, and I have uploaded video footage of the two censored sequences for you to enjoy (and stick it to your censorship boards).

First up is the anal probe scene , in which the player character is dragged past three other characters who are being actively probed, is then probed himself, and then has to help rescue Randy Marsh without accidentally probing him.

The second sequence, the abortion scene , starts with the doctor performing an abortion on the player character, and ends up with the player performing an abortion on, once again, Randy Marsh (poor Randy).

Update: De-censorship Mod

11th March 2013. See  article from  escapistmagazine.com

escapist south park logo South Park fans living in Australia, Europe, Africa and The Middle East were somewhat dismayed to learn that their version of South Park: The Stick of Truth . would be censored . I was able to upload the scenes so affected users could see what they were missing out on, but now, those clever PC modders have done one better, creating a patch for the Steam version of the game that allows everyone to enjoy it fully uncensored. Hooray for anal probes!

You can find the patch on the Steam community forums here , and to install it, you simply need to download this file and extract it into the game's directory. Fans are reporting that the patch works perfectly, allowing them to see the removed anal probe and abortion scenes, as well as the Nazi zombies for those users in Germany.

 

 Updated: Anally Sensitive...

Console versions of South Park: The Stick of Truth censored in Europe


Link Here 28th February 2014
South Park The Stick Truth Ubisoft has censored the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions of 18-rated comedy role-playing game South Park: The Stick of Truth in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The PC version remains unaffected.

BT.com reported on a note sent to press alongside copies of the game that revealed the changes, which amount to seven scenes of about 20 seconds each:

  • A mini-game in which the doctor is performing an abortion on the player.
  • A mini-game in which the player is performing an abortion on the character Randy.
  • Five anal probing scenes involving someone actively being probed. The scenes play out as normal before and after the active probing sequences.

Each censored scene is replaced by an image background and a description text selected by South Park creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker, Ubisoft said.

Speculation suggests that the censorship was applied to the entire region to appease the lowest common denominator of game censors, ie those in Germany.

Meanwhile in Australia

See  article from  gameplanet.com.au :

Ubisoft has said in a statement that a cut version of The Stick of Truth has now been accepted by the country's game censor:

A modified version has now been approved for release, under the guidance of R18+. No full sequences have been removed from the game, only small sections amounting to less than five minutes of game play. These modifications in no way detract from the narrative of the game, meaning the player will still enjoy an authentic South Park experience.

Update: Further cuts in Germany

28th February 2013. See  article from  gamespot.com

The German version of South Park: The Stick of Truth will not feature any swastikas, Ubisoft has confirmed. The Nazi symbols were discovered by VG247 during a recent play-through. An Ubisoft representative told the site:

With regards to the German version, all Nazi symbols have been removed from the game in accordance with German law.

 

  Financial Games...

America proposes to use the tax system to discriminate against violent computer game producers


Link Here 28th February 2014
US Senate The US House Ways and Means Committee released details on in its long-awaited tax reform bill. It is a wide package of measures but includes a kick in the teeth for computer games producers.

The executive summary calls for an improved, permanent R&D tax credit, finally giving American manufacturers the certainty they need to compete against their foreign competition who have long had permanent R&D incentives.

But on page 24 of the same summary that the tax credit is specifically not available for violent video game makers, offering a provision for preventing makers of violent video games from qualifying for the R&D tax credit.

Speaker of the House John Boehner says it is unlikely that the bill will be taken up this legislative session.

 

 Update: Stimulating Conversation...

Primary teacher whinges at playground conversations supposedly stimulated from playing Grand Theft Auto


Link Here 14th February 2014  full story: Grand Theft Auto...Grand Theft Auto brings out the nutters
Grand Theft Auto Xbox 360 Primary school kids are supposedly initiating games involving simulating rape and sexual intercourse scenes from adult video game series Grand Theft Auto, a school has warned.

Pupils have also been having conversations about sexual acts and play acting extremely violent games resulting in injury , according to staff at south Wales primary school Coed-y-Brain. They were also having detailed playground discussions about drug use.

Headteacher Morian Morgan sent a letter to parents expressing his worry about some of the pupils' concerning playground behaviour at the school. He blamed the worrying behaviour on the 18-rated and violent computer game series which sees players take on the role of criminals in America's dark and seedy underworld.

I think some of the parents will tell you that they have been equally naive. But I must stress it's not a matter of me condemning parents at all. . ..[BUT]...

 

 Offsite Article: Adults Only Rating Banned by the US Games Industry...


Link Here 11th February 2014  full story: Violent Games in the US...Attempts to restrict video games from minors
esrb ao Game ratings were designed to open the door for different kinds of content, not limit what can be shown or addressed in a video game.

See article from polygon.com

 

  Monster Censorship...

Japanese game Monster Monpiece has to be censored for US and European release


Link Here 27th January 2014
monster monpiece Monster Monpiece is a PlayStation Vita game set for US and European release in the spring. Developed by Compile Heart, it is a digital card battle game in which the player summons various monster girls onto the game's battlefields. Those girls then fight the player's opponents.

While fairly innocent sounding, the controversy lay in how the girls power-up and become stronger. They do this by stripping through the use of in-game mechanics called First Crush Rub and Extreme Love .

However the artwork will be censored for US and European releases as revealed in a statement emailed from the game publisher:

We kept the same number of cards in the game as the original Japanese version, but replaced some of the higher level Monster Girl images with the less exposed lower level versions of the corresponding Monster Girls due to some intense sexual imagery.

The number of censored cards is about 40 out of the approximately 350 card images available in the game. This means that over 300 cards are left untouched from the original images. That said, each card that has had its image removed will still have the same number of levels for the player to increase, but the higher level card images will be the same as the lower level, even though they have leveled up and have become more powerful.

This was a very difficult decision since we work very hard to satisfy our fans and want to bring the same content being offered in Japan. However, Western society is not as lenient as that of Japan when sexual images are involved-especially images of humanoids that appear to be younger than a socially acceptable age. The borderline of what is acceptable will always be extremely gray and vary from person to person, but as a responsible company working in the U.S., we had to make the difficult decision that we did. We sincerely apologize for those who do not agree with any level of censorship, but we greatly appreciate your understanding with the decision we have made.

The ESRB has rated the cut version of Monster Monpiece as M for Mature in the USA.

 

  Small Consolation...

China partially unbans games consoles


Link Here 10th January 2014
Microsoft RKB 00006 Xbox 360 Console The Chinese government has temporarily lifted a ban on selling foreign video games consoles, paving the way for firms such as Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft to enter a lucrative market.

China banned gaming consoles in 2000, citing a supposed adverse effect on the mental health of young people.

In a statement, the government said that it would allow foreign firms to make consoles within Shanghai's free trade zone and sell them in China after inspection by cultural departments.

Update: Rules

20th January 2013. See  article from  gamespot.com

China has begun drafting new rules for the sale of video game consoles and games in the country, following the nation's announcement last week that its 14-year ban had been lifted .

Cai Wu, head of China's Ministry of Culture, said that the rules are being written as quickly as possible, though no specific timeline for their publication was provided.

Things that are hostile to China, or not in conformity with the outlook of China's government, won't be allowed under the rules of the free-trade zone, Cai said. We want to open the window a crack to get some fresh air, but we still need a screen to block the flies and mosquitoes.