Melon Farmers Original Version

UK Games Censor News


2011

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16th November   

Updated: Playing a Long Game...

BBFC to VSC handover of video game ratings now set for early 2012
Link Here

The last report of the handover of video game censorship from the BBFC to the Video Standards Council (VSC) suggested that this would occur by Christmas.

Now the handover date is being talked about in terms of sometime early 2012.

However the video game trade group UKIE has confirmed that plans are still on course for PEGI, which is currently awaiting final EU sign offs before UK Government grants the on-pack marks as the only ratings standard for video games.

Update: Playing a Longer game

16th November 2011. See article from mcvuk.com

MCV are now reporting that the games censorship handover to the VSC, the new games censors using PEGI symbols, will not no occur early in 2012.

However a revised launch window has yet to be given.

 

15th June   

Waiting Game...

BBFC hand over of games to the VSC said to be delayed, possibly until Christmas
Link Here

  The ghost of Christmas yet to come

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport has admitted that complex technical points are behind the ongoing delay to legal implementation of PEGI age-ratings for video games in the UK.

Negotiations between the Government, overseen personally by Culture Minister Ed Vaizey, the Video Standards Council, and the BBFC, are understood to be at a delicate stage. But sources familiar with the matter said there was optimism that the system could still be passed into law by Christmas .

As revealed by GI.biz in January, a complicated debate over packaging regulations had thrown a spanner in the works, with the BBFC's role in particular requiring definitive clarification. The main sticking point remains the issue of linear (i.e. trailer) content, which regulations require is rated by the BBFC.

 

13th May   

Updated: All Agog...

VSC suggests that online games censorship will tend to be advisory rather than mandatory
Link Here

The Video Standards Council (VSC) is the UK games censor in waiting. They have commented on a move by the online games distributor to allow Australian's to evade the state censorship of Witcher 2 .

The VSC said GOG.com's recent decision to ditch location controls is symptomatic of global trends and speculated  that all entertainment media could eventually shift toward an advisory rather than a legally-based system.

It seems inevitable that such systems will have an impact on the way national regulators control online content though the more authoritarian regimes won't have any qualms about shutting down a site if they deem it necessary, the VSC told Edge.

However, the more benign censorship/ratings organisations will probably move away from the mandatory model and replace it with an advisory systems which puts the onus on consumers to make informed buying decisions through the provision of detailed consumer information.

THe VSC added, though, that it doesn't believe regional ratings body are in danger of becoming irrelevant: We believe the public tends to trust the judgement and advice of the more independent, established and respected ratings organisations and will continue to do so.

 

15th March   

Update: Don't You Dare Do That Again...

PEGI unimpressed by misleading marketing for the We Dare console game
Link Here
Full story: We Dare...Daring to include minor sex references in a game

In a further twist, PEGI has now asked Ubisoft to remove the original We Dare advert from the web. It seems that PEGI were not impressed with being falsely accused of a too low rating.

Eurogamer received the following statement:

The Committee concludes that the advertisement does NOT accurately reflect the nature and content of the product and it MISLEADS consumers as to its true nature.

Consequently, the Committee considers imperative as a first measure that the advertisement for the game which was made available online should be taken down immediately. If this is not done within three working days of this decision this Committee will consider further immediate sanctions against the publisher.

 

6th March   

Update: We Dare is Actually Not Very Daring...

Investigating the hype for the party game We Dare
Link Here
Full story: We Dare...Daring to include minor sex references in a game

Due to be released on Nintendo Wii and PlayStation 3 later this year, We Dare features over 35 mini-games that take a distinctly adult approach, with marketing materials encouraging two players to kiss a Wii Remote simultaneously, spank each other to control on-screen avatars, and striptease to a variety of songs.

With its highly suggestive trailer and product description, Cubed3 queried PEGI on the seemingly low 12+ age rating.

PEGI stated that they do not look at the surrounding context of a game, only the in-game content. The suggestive naughtiness by the human actors in the YouTube trailer did not figure in the decision for the game rating:

PEGI does not take into account the context of a game when rating it, we only look at the contents of the game. [We Dare] has been rated as a PEGI 12 because it contains mild swearing, minor assault on a human-like character and words/activities that amount to obvious sexual innuendo, explicit sexual descriptions or images and sexual posturing.

       However PEGI:

Do demand that these types of artwork [are] on the same level as the game. In the case of We Dare, the cover and trailer are in correspondence with our guidelines.

It was considered that We Dare might justify a higher rating due to a specific (sexual) atmosphere , but this proposal was rejected by the Video Standards Council, an independent organisation that verifies PEGI ratings for use in the UK:

The game itself is in fact less sexual/offensive than the marketing campaign leads us to believe (for example, you cannot see real spanking in the game. There is a 'stripping game' but you don't have to undress; throwing away keys or anything that reduces your weight is good enough).

 

27th January   

Update: Game Rules Too Complicated...

Handover of games censorship from BBFC to VSC delayed at least until September
Link Here
Full story: Keith Vaz...Keith Vaz in votes for knighthood claim

Indecision over whether games featuring video content still need a BBFC certificate has temporarily derailed the implementation of PEGI ratings.

The handover from the BBFC to the VSC will not now occur until September at the very earliest.

A new government proposal states that interactive entertainment which features linear content (such as trailers) would require a BBFC rating. That means a game that features a video in it will need to have both a PEGI and BBFC label on the box.

UKIE representing UK games producers condemned the proposal, saying in a statement:

Any dual labelling is contrary to the principles that were established in having PEGI introduced into the Digital Economy Act and if this proposal were implemented we believe it would only cause unnecessary and potentially harmful consumer confusion.


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