Archive for the ‘PEGI European Games Ratings’ Category

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PEGI logo 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But first, he acknowledged PEGI’s fees are an outdated relic of the way the video game industry used to operate.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.

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google play store logo To help consumers make informed choices on Google Play, we’re introducing a new rating system for apps and games. These ratings provide an easy way to communicate familiar and locally relevant content ratings to your users and help improve app engagement by targeting the right audience for your content.

Starting in May, consumers worldwide will see the current Google Play rating scale replaced with their local rating on the Play Store. Territories that are not covered by a specific International Age Rating Coalition (IARC) rating authority will be assigned an age-based, generic rating.

To prevent your apps’ from being listed as Unrated, sign in to your Google Play Developer Console and fill out the questionnaire for each of your apps as soon as possible. Unrated apps may be blocked in certain territories or for specific users.

Beginning May 5, 2015, all new apps and updates to existing apps will need to have a completed content rating questionnaire before they can be published. As a Google Play Developer, your compliance and participation with the new app ratings system is required under the Google Play Developer Distribution Agreement. Apps that aren’t rated using the new rating system may be removed from the Play Store.

Note: All apps and games on Google Play are required to follow the Google Play Developer Content Policy.

Obtaining Ratings

To receive a rating for each of your apps and games, you fill out a rating questionnaire on the Google Play Developer Console about the nature of your apps’ content and receive a content rating from multiple rating authorities. The ratings assigned to your app displayed on Google Play are determined by your questionnaire responses.

You’re responsible for completing the content rating questionnaire for:

  • New apps submitted on the Developer Console Existing apps that are active on Google Play All app updates where there has been a change to app content or features that would affect the responses to the questionnaire

  • To benefit users, developers should use the assigned rating when advertising their app in each respective region, subject to display guidelines.

App ratings are not meant to reflect the intended audience. The ratings are intended to help consumers, especially parents, identify potentially objectionable content that exists within an app.

All rating icons are protected trademarks of the respective rating authority and their misuse may result in legal action.

Important: Make sure to provide accurate responses to the content rating questionnaire. Misrepresentation of your app’s content may result in removal or suspension.

Rating authorities & descriptions

The bodies involved are:

  • The Australian Classification Board
  • Classifcacao Indicativa, which covers Brazil
  • The Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB), which looks after North America
  • Pan European Game Information (Pegi), which is used by the UK and 29 other European countries
  • Unterhaltungssoftware Selbstkontrolle, which is specific to Germany
  • Australian Classification Board

Generic ratings are assigned to territories without a participating authority. There is also a variant set of ages used for App ratings in South Korea.

Google also notes the possible ratings:

  • Unrated
  • Refused Classification.
Read more UK Games Censor News at MelonFarmers.co.uk

tiga logo TIGA, the network for game developers and digital publishers, has written an open letter toPEGI, the European game content rating system, calling for urgent reform of its pricing policy, which charges small games businesses unreasonably high and repetitious fees.TIGA has acted in response to complaints from its members aboutPEGI’s pricing policy.At present, PEGI’s policy is to charge a developer a fee for content rating every time it launches a game on a different console platform (e.g. Play Station 4, Play Station Vita, Xbox One, the Wii U, etc), even if the content is exactly the same. This is excessive and unreasonable.TIGA recommends that the fee for age rating the same game content for different platforms should be waived entirely.

TIGA has warned the Netherlands based organisation that its approach risks hurting start-ups and small independent developers. While PEGI’s pricing policy can impose costs potentially running into thousands of euros on UK and European developers, American game developers do not have to pay their equivalent ratings body, the ESRB, anything at all for rating identical content on additional platforms.

As of 1st of July 2014, PEGI will effectively have three pricing tiers:

  • The lowest, for online or downloadable games only which must be under 250mb, charges EUR260 for certification, and the same again for each additional platform even if the content is the same.
  • The middle tier is for games larger than 250mb, with a production budget of less than EUR200,000 and charges EUR1,155 for certification and EUR1,050 for each additional platform, again even if the content is unchanged.
  • The highest tier is for games with a budget larger than EUR200,000 and charges EUR2,100 for certification and EUR1,050 for each additional platform, even if the content is exactly the same.

To give one example, from the beginning of July 2014, the ratings fee for a Lower Development Cost Product (where the game’s budget is less that EUR200,000) is EUR1,155 in the first instance and EUR1,050 for each additional platform thereafter. So if an indie developer was to launch the same game with exactly the same content on PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PS Vita, they would be looking at a ratings bill of EUR3,255. PEGI’s pricing policy imposes disproportionate costs on indie developers pursuing a multi-platform strategy.

The PEGI content ratings system should be focused on providing information to consumers and protecting vulnerable consumers from accessing inappropriate content. It should not be burdening small games businesses with excessive costs. Many small development businesses operate on a knife-edge and struggle to conserve every pound or euro they can in order to stay in business.

TIGA further suggests that PEGI examines the potential for delivering its rating system more efficiently. At present, PEGI carries out the rating process repeatedly for games on multiple platforms. TIGA suggests that instead developers could be offered the opportunity to sign a legally binding document stating the game content is identical. This would allow PEGI to provide a single multi-platform age rating, which in turn would save PEGI’s time and indie developers’ money. TIGA would be happy to work with one of its members, Stevens & Bolton LLP to draft this legally binding agreement and make it available for free to indie developers.

Dr. Richard Wilson, CEO, TIGA, comments:

The majority of UK and European games developers operate small studios where financial resources are limited and costs need to be kept to a minimum.

TIGA’s policy is to strengthen the game development and digital publishing sector, in particular by saving games businesses money and improving their access to finance. PEGI’s pricing policy imposes potentially damaging and unreasonably high fees, which have a disproportionate impact on small games businesses. It cannot be right to charge a developer a fee for content rating every time it launches a game on a different console platform even if the content is exactly the same.

Significantly, US developers do not have to pay their equivalent ratings body, the ESRB, anything at all for rating identical content on additional platforms. Once again, UK and European developers are being put at a disadvantage. If the UK and European development sector is to thrive then we need a pricing policy from PEGI which is helpful, not a hindrance; is proportionate, not punitive; and is equitable, not exorbitant.

TIGA is approaching PEGI to find a solution that fairly represents the interests of developers, digital publishers and consumers across Europe.

Read more VSC and PEGI Watch at MelonFarmers.co.uk

See article from digitalspy.co.uk

ukie logo The majority of parents are unlikely to check video game age ratings when buying presents for Christmas, it has been revealed.

New research from the Association for UK Interactive Entertainment (UKIE) shows that only 40% of parents buy games with an age rating that the games raters think are appropriate for their children

43% said that they checked ratings but didn’t necessarily stick to them, presumably because they did not agree with them.

Some 59% parents buying games for their children say they are likely to play the game with their child.

UKIE CEO Dr Jo Twist said:

PEGI ratings on all UK games give clear and simple guidance on the suitability of games for different age audiences and if parents need further guidance on what these ratings mean they can visit Ask About Games.

We’d urge parents to use this really helpful tool to ensure that playing games has the biggest positive impact on their children and family as a whole this Christmas.

Read more BBFC News at MelonFarmers.co.uk

See article from mcvuk.com

Games Rating Authority logo An update from games trade body UKIE says than pan-European PEGI games ratings will become law on July 23rd. This is still a provisional date though.

From that date retailers could face prosecution or a fine if selling video games with PEGI ratings 12, 16 and 18  to those under those ages.

The PEGI rating system will be administered by the Games Rating Authority, the name for a group operating as part of the Video Standards Council.

Read more VSC and PEGI Watch at MelonFarmers.co.uk

See article from thegamershub.net

pegi symbols logo Nearly three years ago, PEGI was selected to be the organisation to rate videogames, and passed into law in 2010 as part of the Digital Economy Bill, but due to issues behind-the-scenes its full implementation has been delayed.

Now Dr. Jo Twist UKIE, the UK trade group representing the video game industry, said:

Our next major campaign launches this summer to promote PEGI and to demystify video games to parents.

This campaign will launch when PEGI is finally implemented. PEGI is indeed progressing and the latest estimated implementation date is this July.

Read more UK Parliament Watch at MelonFarmers.co.uk

See article from parliament.uk

pegi fear Keith Vaz has been casting doubt on PEGI ratings suggesting that these require further government scrutiny

As usual Vaz has voiced his concerns via an Early Day Motion 2761 in Parliament saying:

That this House notes that:

  • Tiga, the trade body representing independent UK video games developers, has come out in support of targeted tax relief for the games industry;

  • encourages tax relief for small and medium-sized enterprises for its role in generating and safeguarding jobs, especially in these current difficult times;

  • remains concerned that regulation of the video games industry is lacking in comparison to other industries; is anxious that the Pan European Game Information (PEGI) classification of video games is taken as seriously as the British Board of Film Classification by both retailers and shoppers;

  • wishes the public was more aware of the risks to children and young adults;

  • and calls on the Government to place more scrutiny on the PEGI classification system.

The only signature supporting the motion so far is sponsor Mike Hancock.