Gamasutra cites small game developers speaking about the PEGI games classification group:
We have to work with them, and they have some crazy policies that are not cool for indies, he told me. You can't put your game on an Xbox or PlayStation without a PEGI rating, and they charge thousands of dollars.
By comparison, getting the game ESRB-rated so the game could be sold in the U.S. costs nothing; the ESRB rolled out a free, streamlined voluntary rating service to digital platforms years ago.
PEGI designed its licensing fee scheme for digital games based on how it's been rating physical video game releases since 2003: with the expectation that publishers would foot the bill. But the rise of self-publishing has created situations where the
biggest line item on a small developer's budget may well be ratings board licensing fees. That in turn is putting pressure on indies not to release their games in Europe on platforms that require PEGI ratings, i.e. Xbox Games Store, Sony's PSN and
Nintendo's eShop. Indies are paying roughly $300-$1,000 per platform for a PEGI rating
PEGI knows this. It's been taking fire on this front from members of the European game industry for some time (UK game industry trade body TIGA called on PEGI last year to reform what it called unreasonably high and repetitious fees ) and when I
sat down with agency communications manager Dirk Bosmans at Gamescom last month, he tried to offer both an explanation and the promise of a near future where no indie will have to pay for a rating on a Microsoft, Sony or Nintendo platform ever again.
But first, he acknowledged PEGI's fees are an outdated relic of the way the video game industry used to operate. They're also the primary thing keeping PEGI in business. PEGI knows this is a problem, but it wants to maintain income
Our money comes from fees that publishers pay to get a ratings license...that's basically our only source of income. When we were at the height of the console cycle, there were lots of games. That's come down in the past few years, so obviously our
income is shrinking.
A couple of years ago, if you'd asked me [whether PEGI fees have a chilling effect on European game releases], the answer probably would have been no, because in order to release a game in a box on a shelf you'd need a lot of funds. But because digital
is so much more accessible, it's much easier to release a game, but we still charge the same.
Violent video game play is linked to increased aggression in players but insufficient
evidence exists about whether the link extends to criminal violence or delinquency, according to a new American Psychological Association task force report.
Mark Appelbaum, the task force chair, commented in the review:
The research demonstrates a consistent relation between violent video game use and increases in aggressive behavior, aggressive cognitions and aggressive affect, and decreases in prosocial behavior, empathy and sensitivity to aggression
Scientists have investigated the use of violent video games for more than two decades but to date, there is very limited research addressing whether violent video games cause people to commit acts of criminal violence. However, the link between violence
in video games and increased aggression in players is one of the most studied and best established in the field.
No single risk factor consistently leads a person to act aggressively or violently, the report states. Rather, it is the accumulation of risk factors that tends to lead to aggressive or violent behavior. The research reviewed here demonstrates that
violent video game use is one such risk factor.
In light of the task force's conclusions, APA has called on the industry to design video games that include increased parental control over the amount of violence the games contain. APA's Council of Representatives adopted a resolution encouraging the
Entertainment Software Rating Board to refine its video game rating system to reflect the levels and characteristics of violence in games, in addition to the current global ratings. In addition, the resolution urges developers to design games that
are appropriate to users' age and psychological development, and voices APA's support for more research to address gaps in the knowledge about the effects of violent video game use.
The task force conducted a comprehensive review of the research literature published between 2005 and 2013 focused on violent video game use. This included four meta-analyses that reviewed more than 150 research reports published before 2009. Task force
members then conducted both a systematic evidence review and a quantitative review of the literature published between 2009 and 2013. (A systematic evidence review synthesizes all empirical evidence that meets pre-specified criteria to answer specific
research questions) This resulted in 170 articles, 31 of which met all of the most stringent screening criteria.
In addition to the report described above, the APA released a declaration:
A Resolution on Violent Video Games - that strongly encourages the Entertainment Software Rating Board to refine the ESRB rating system specifically to reflect the levels and characteristics of violence in games in addition to the current global ratings
While the ESRB said that it has had an open dialogue with the APA - and will continue to do so, it also said that it doesn't need to make changes to the ratings system. It cited an 8-year-old FTC report on the reliability of the ratings system (compared
to other entertainment industry ratings systems) and a Hart Research poll that found parents were familiar with the ESRB.
The YouTube channel Censored Gaming has published its latest video, this one highlighting how the PlayStation 4 horror game, Until Dawn , was amended for its Japanese release.
Josh's death by saw cutscene was crudely censored for Japan by totally blanking out the video.
Until Dawn is rated M for Mature in the United States and features a good amount of blood and gore, including disembowling and decapitations, as well as a scene where a character is forced to cut off parts of his fingers.
A non-binding video game ratings system has been proposed by the Thai Ministry of Culture. Six age-based ratings for games have been mooted by the Ministry of Culture that would be placed on all games released in Thailand but would not be legally binding
on retailers to enforce. Pradith Posew of the Film and Video Censors Board said:
There won't be any legal effect in banning kids from playing games. It's merely a guidance for guardians to take care of their kids' video game playing, based on the appropriateness to their age.
He said it was also intended to help internet and gaming cafes to advise kids who play games at their shops.
In addition to a general audience category, the six ratings would include recommendations for minimum ages of 3, 6, 13, 15 and 18.
The ratings system has been sent to the military government for final approval, Pradith said.
On several recent occasions video games have been banned in Thailand. In 2008, the Ministry of Culture banned sales of Grand Theft Auto IV , after a 17-year-old student stabbed a taxi driver dead and blamed the game for his actions.
In August 2014, three months after the military seized power from an elected government, Thai authorities also banned sales of Tropico 5 , which allows players to assume the role of a dictator running a fictitious tropical island nation. The Film
and Video Censors Board claimed the game could possibly affect the kingdom's political situation. The game creator hit back at Thailand this past June by launching a new Espionage mission tasking players with crippling the Thai tourism industry.