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Half of parents allow young kids to play 18+ games unsupervised...

Perhaps half of parents think PEGI ratings are over cautious


Link Here 16th July 2018
childcare.co.uk write:

We recently surveyed more than 2,000 parents on our platform and found that more than half of parents allow their children to play video games for over 18s, without supervision or knowledge of the game beforehand. In contrast, just 18% said they would let 10-14-year-olds watch an 18+ movie.

We also discovered that 86% of parents admitted that they don't follow age restrictions on video games, compared to 23% who said they didn't follow age restrictions on films.

43% of parents say they have seen a negative change in their child's behaviour since playing games aimed at adults, and 22% of the 2,171 respondents said their kids now understand and use negative or offensive language since playing these games.

86% of parents don't believe that games will impact their child's behaviour or outlook on life. However 62% admit they have tried to take the games away from their kids but gave them back soon after because of tantrums and 48% fear that their child is addicted to video games.

Richard Conway, founder of Childcare.co.uk said:

It's difficult in this day and age to govern what your child is exposed to, because if your 10-year-old has friends who are playing Fortnite, which is rated 12, you want them to be included in the fun. However, it's always worth looking into the game to see if it's suitable rather than leaving them to their own devices.

What's interesting is that the majority of parents follow film age ratings, but when it comes to video games they maybe aren't as strict. It's important to remember how impressionable children are; if they see behaviour or language in a video game or movie, they may mimic it.

 

 

Updated: Appeal board overturns ban on We Happy Few...

Whilst developers show a little sympathy for Australia's embarrassed games censors... they're just saddled with crap rules


Link Here 14th July 2018
Australia's Classification Review Board has unanimously overturned the ban on the video game, We Happy Few by the main Classification Board. The appeals boards has now passed the game with the adults-only R18+ for Fantasy violence and interactive drug use.

The game's developer, Compulsion Games, has expressed sympathy for the censor board saying it wasn't sure the Board could have ruled any other way.

In an email with Kotaku Australia, Compulsion Games chief operating officer and producer Sam Abbott said he wasn't sure that the Classification Board had any room to move, given the constraints of the rating guidelines:

I think originally the board made the best decision they could given (a) the guidelines they work within, and (b) the information we provided them, Abbott said. I'm not sure I'd make a different original decision given those constraints.

Abbott went on to explain that Compulsion Games could have outlined more information about Joy -- the drug that is a centrepiece of the dystopian society in which We Happy Few is set -- including the positive and negative aspects of its consumption.

The censor board  banned the game for its use of drugs in-game, under the clause about incentivised drug use including:

New skills or attribute increases, extra points, unlocking achievements, plot animations, scenes and rewards, rare or exclusive loot, or making tasks easier to accomplish,

The latter of which was the reason We Happy Few originally fell foul of in the rule. In the Board's opinion:

The game's drug-use mechanic making game progression less difficult constitutes an incentive or reward for drug-use and therefore, the game exceeds the R 18+ classification that states, drug use related to incentives and rewards is not permitted. Therefore, the game warrants being Refused Classification.

The Classification Review Board will issue details reasons for its decision in due course.

Update: Reason explained

14th July 2018. See article [pdf] from classification.gov.au

The Classification Review Board has now published its reasons for overruling the censorship board's ban of We Happy Few and awarding an uncut R18+ rating instead:

Reasons for the decision

The premise of this computer game is for the playing characters to escape a fictional town where the inhabitants are in a state of Government mandated euphoria and memory loss. Although the non -playing characters appear to be happy due to their continual use of the Joy drug, the computer game quickly establishes that this state is undesirable and the playing characters are on a quest to avoid the use of the Joy drug. The actual use of the fictitious drug as a game progression mechanic, questions the viability of such a gameplay decision at each stage/level. The character's action in taking the drug is usually the only viable option given and while it may enable the character to pass a stage/level of the game, the benefit is short term and is followed by a loss of memory and a reduction in health points, the depletion of the body and/or withdrawal symptoms. In the Review Board's opinion, the use of the drug is not presented as an incentive nor does it constitute a reward for the player in achieving the aim of the computer game. In the Review Board's opinion, the interactive drug use does not exceed high, therefore the computer game can be accommodated at R 18+.

 

 

Offsite Article: UncensorPat.ch...


Link Here 14th July 2018
UncensorPat.ch is a database of patches used to uncensor games on the online PC game distribution platform Steam

See article from uncensorpat.ch

 

 

Offsite Article: Video games like Fortnite are fun...


Link Here 12th July 2018
So they must be bad. By Toby Young

See article from spectator.co.uk

 

 

Australian government considers relaxing drug laws...sort of...

In light of Australian games censorship rules by overturned by the appeals board, the government is now considering 'modernising' its games censorship rules


Link Here 11th July 2018
In the light of Australia's Classification Review Board overturning the Classification Board's ban of the video game We Happy Few , the Australian government is now considering whether games censorship rules need 'modernising'.

The Department of the Communications and the Arts has confirmed that talks have begun to modernise the classification guidelines. Any adjustment to the classification guidelines for computer games must be agreed by classification ministers in all Australia's states and territories. The department also said it will consult extensively with industry stakeholders and communities.

We Happy Few an indie game, was initially banned over the prominence of the drug Joy, which underpins the game's dystopian society by being used as a method of controlling the populace. The Board's initial finding found that the presence of Joy violated the clause on incentivised drug use:

The games developer appealed against the ban and the Classification Review Board - a separate statutory body the unanimous overturned the Classification Board's original ban resulting in an adults-only R18+ classification.

The department did not provide a timeline as to when said discussions might take place.

 

 

All bets are off...

French gaming authority decides that loot boxes are not gambling


Link Here 9th July 2018
Full story: Loot boxes in video games...Worldwide action against monetisation of video games

France's online gaming authority (ARJEL, Autorité de Régulation des Jeux En Ligne) has decided that loot boxes in premium-priced games are not gambling. It determined that loot boxes are not legally considered gambling, and therefore are not gambling.

However, ARJEL will continue to monitor the matter and is also calling for more unilateral support from the European Union in order to achieve a sound consensus on whether or not to consider loot boxes gambling.

According to ARJEL, the fact that you can't readily cash out your rewards from loot boxes for real-world currency means that in the minds of regulators it's not quite gambling. For them, the only way it would be gambling is if players could actually retrieve the money that they invested into the product.

However, ARJEL also believes that loot boxes do contain questionable psychological hooks that work very similar to slot machines and roulette wheels in terms of luring gamers into a feeling of needing to spend more money in order to acquire the item they seek.

 

 

Mine's bigger than yours...

German games censors claim the most outstanding proportions...for their ratings symbols


Link Here 2nd July 2018
Tom Phillips of Eurogamer has commented on games cover spaces demanded by games raters from PEGI, ESRB amd Germany's USK...And the Germans win by a substantial margin

 

 

Sim Censors...

7 countries ban Sims FreePlay mobile game seemingly because of gay and trans characters


Link Here 27th June 2018
A representative for games developer EA has announced on an online forum that The Sims mobile game The Sims: Freeplay would no longer be available in seven countries: China, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Kuwait, Qatar and Egypt.

A spokesperson said that in light of regional standards the game would no longer be updated.?  EA did not confirm the exact nature of these regional standards, prompting many fans to speculate that the ban was caused by the game's explicit LGBT content. The EA spokesperson wrote:

We've always been proud that our in-game experiences embrace values as broad and diverse as our incredible Sims community. This has been important to us, as we know it is to you.

Users who had already downloaded the game would still be able to use it, however, the game will not be updated and may eventually be rendered obsolete. Players will also not be able to make in-game purchases.

The popular EA life simulation video game includes diverse elements such as same-sex weddings and gay adoptions, and male pregnancies. The game let players pick whether the sim had a feminine or masculine frame and allowed players to decide whether their sim stood to use the toilet.

 

 

Censors filled with joy...

Australian games censors to hear appeal against the ban on We Happy Few


Link Here 27th June 2018
Full story: Banned Games in Australia...Games and the Australian Censorship Board
The Australian Censorship Review Board is currently reviewing the ban on Compulsion Games' upcoming dystopian adventure game We Happy Few .

The review is the result of an appeal from Compulsion Games, as the decision was made due to the appearance of the incentivization of drugs in the game. As the Cesnorship Board's report explained, A player that takes Joy can reduce gameplay difficulty, therefore receiving an incentive by progressing through the game quickly.

The appeal argued that the usage of Joy is indeed negative, as Joy itself is a product of a dystopian society that exercises drug-induced control over its population, and should not in fact be seen in a positive light.

The Board has scheduled a meeting for July 3, where it will review public submissions from those who want to discuss the matter as a interested party to this review, specifically as the process relates to We Happy Few. From there, a decision will be made in the coming weeks following the review.

 

 

Updated: The Agony and The Ecstasy...

Games developer Madmind cancels patch and announces instead that Agony Unrated will be released on Steam, and later that it is cancelled again


Link Here 27th June 2018
A gony is a 2018 US survival horror by Madmind Studio

Players begin their journey as a tormented soul within the depths of Hell without any memories about their past. The special ability to control people on their path, and possess minded demons, gives the player the necessary measures to survive in the extreme conditions they are in

Last month it was announced that games developer Madmind was forced to cut its Agony game to avoid an uncommercially viable AO (Adults-Only) rating from the US games censors of the ESRB. Madmind promised that the AO version would be restored via a patch.

Madmind have now cancelled the patch citing legal issues. The company have said not quite so much material has had to be cut as first thought. The company said:

The censorship now affects only several seconds from two endings (out of seven) and some scenes that may be unlocked only after the end of the game.

Madmind have said that they will at least explain the cuts in a documentary video that will show the material that had to be cut for an M rating in the US.

The cut version has just been released worldwide and is 18 rated by PEGI for the European region.

Update: May still be the possibility of an uncut version

1st June 2018. See  article from oneangrygamer.net

Developers Madmind signed a distribution deal for the game to appear on the Xbox One , PS4 , and Steam that ended up nullifying their ability to distribute the Adults Only patch as they had originally promised. It seems that this contractual agreement included a ban on patching games appearing on these platforms. However it seems that an uncensored version could appear elsewhere as long as any patches there cannot be applied to the games appearing on Xbox/PS4/Steam.

During a lengthy Q&A session, Madmind attempted to address why the game's uncensored version wasn't made available. They were also asked if it would be possible to release the uncensored content through a GOG.com version. According to Madmind, they responded:

The contract with the publishers did not allow us to make the Adult Only version. We could not do anything about it. Violation of these laws would cause huge financial penalties, which would result in immediate closure of the company and the game would not have been issued. Without publishers -- the production process would be interrupted and the game would not appear. We are in talks with GOG. If they agree, Agony will be released on this platform in a version with all patches and without censorship, with official AO rating.

Update: Agony's censored scenes published in a video

 1st June 2018. See article from oneangrygamer.net , See video of deleted scenes from vimeo.com

Madmind Studio kept their word and released a video showcasing the original Adults Only content they had to cut in order to secure a Mature rating for the game Agony.

The NSFW video clocks in at 4:48 minutes. It features the content that Madmind had to trim in order to secure the Mature rating, this includes scenes of genital penetration, a couple of seconds of butt physics, various forms of infanticide, as well as a sequence involving demon sex and a succubus giving birth to a demon baby through a mutilated vagina.

Update: Madmind announces that Agony Unrated can now be released on Steam

8th June 2018. See article from steamcommunity.com

It is with a great pleasure that we want to inform you we have found a way to publish the unrated version of Agony! Agony Unrated will be a separate title produced and published by Madmind Studio and without the involvement of any publishers. It features additional content and changes suggested by you -- our community -- as nothing is more valuable to us than you.

We are doing our best to offer Agony Unrated to as many people as possible. Our goal is for each person that already owns Agony on Steam to be able to buy Agony Unrated with the biggest discount possible on that platform -- 99% -- or release it as a free DLC . We are currently talking with the Steam representatives to make sure it is doable. Agony Unrated will be released about three months from now and it will include all the updates from the standard version of the game. Agony Unrated also brings:
ˇ Additional sounds in the game and the cutscenes.
ˇ Additional erotic animations for characters in the backgrounds.
ˇ High resolution textures and models -- without any censorship.
ˇ All the scenes that have been removed from the standard version of Agony .
ˇ Agony Mode unlocked from the beginning.
ˇ Additional content for Agony Mode (Setting -- The Forest, Boss Fight -- Baphomet).
ˇ Succubus Mode unlocked from the beginning.
ˇ Additional animations for Succubus Mode .

The whole team is working on patches and fixes for the game and we are planning to be releasing them until the most of you (if not everyone!) in our beloved community is satisfied with our game.

Update: Unrated release is cancelled

27th June 2018. See article from steamcommunity.com

MadMind Studio has announced:

We regret to inform you that our company is currently struggling with financial problems. Due to technical and legal reasons, Madmind must cancel the development of Agony Unrated.

 

 

Labyrinthine corporate censorship...

Sony bans video game Omega Labyrinth Z from all western regions


Link Here 26th June 2018
Omega Labyrinth Z , an adult-orientated anime dungeon crawler, will not be released on PlayStation 4 or Vita after Sony stepped in and banned the game from all western regions.

The game, which mixes chibi-style dungeon exploration with a slideshow of provocatively-dressed young anime characters, had been set to launch in Europe and North America.

In Europe, Omega Labyrinth Z was given a PEGI 18 rating for sexual content, although a UK launch had already been scrapped after the Video Standards Council (VSC) banned it. Germany, New Zealand and Ireland had also joined the UK in banning the game.

The contentious issue was the young-looking female characters. The characters themselves are of indistinguishable age, but cues from the setting within a 'school' environment rather causes issues.

Distributor PQube announced it will not release the game in the West at all because PlayStation itself intervened.

It is with sadness that we announce that the game is cancelled on both platforms [PS4 and Vita] and all Western regions permanently.

 

 

No more bets please...

Dutch games censors declare that their grace period has expired and they will be enforcing their ban on loot boxes


Link Here 25th June 2018
Full story: Loot boxes in video games...Worldwide action against monetisation of video games
The Dutch gambling authority will enforce a new ban on loot boxes. They identified four games that offer loot boxes that are considered gambling. According to the public broadcast company these games are FIFA 18, DOTA 2 , PlayerUnknown's BattleGrounds and Rocket League .

These games had until the 20th of June to make changes to the gambling aspect of their loot boxes. Starting from Thursday the gambling authority will enforce the rules. Fines can be 830.000 euro (960.000 dollar) or 10% of the company's worldwide revenue. If they don't make changes, the public prosecutor will look into prosecution.

 

 

With pals like that, who needs enemies...

Paypal decides to censor the games company behind Active Shooter


Link Here 22nd June 2018
Full story: Paypal Censors...Paypal unilaterally decide to act as media censors
Acid Software, the developer of a shooting simulator recently removed from Steam, will now struggle to sell its products online thanks to censorship by PayPal.

The Active Shooter developer said this week that purchases of its highly controversial game were temporarily disabled while it tried to resolve issues with PayPal.

Paypal has confirmed it has banned the account saying:

PayPal has a longstanding, well-defined and consistently enforced Acceptable Use Policy, and regardless of the individual or organisation in question, we work to ensure that our services are not used to accept payments for activities that promote violence, PayPal said in a statement.

Acid Software spokesperson Ata Berdyev told the Associated Press the future of the game is now in doubt.

 

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