Archive for the ‘VSC Games Censor’ Category

Read more UK Games Censor News at MelonFarmers.co.uk

VSC logo The UK video games censor, the Video Standards Council (VSC) has appointed a new chair to take over from GillianShephard (BaronessShephard ofNorthwold).The new Chair will be Tony Lake, who has served as a vice-chair for the organization since December 2009. According to the VCS, Tony Lake has an extensive background in law enforcement, having served for 36 years in the Police Service and working for five different police forces during his career. He spent the first 20 years of his career in the Metropolitan Police before transferring to the West Yorkshire Police in 1992 In 2010 he became an Assistant Chief Constable in Sussex and Deputy Chief Constable of the British Transport Police in 2000. He retired in 2009.

The VSC was established in 1989 to develop and oversee a code of practice designed to promote standards within the video/DVD industry. Since 2003 the VSC has been responsible for administering the PEGI system which now covers the UK and over 30 countries.

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Read more UK Games Censor News at MelonFarmers.co.uk

See article from videostandards.org.uk
See Annual Report 2012 [pdf] from videostandards.org.uk

vsc annual report 2012 The Video Standards Council has published its first annual report since it was designated as the UK regulatory authority for classifying video games supplied in the UK on the 30th July 2012.

The report technically covers only the last 5 months of 2012. However, it also contains a brief history of the VSC, a description of what it does and how it does it and an overall view of VSC activities from a UK perspective. Beyond that it paints a broader picture of PEGI in the global world of video games where the VSC has an international role as a PEGI administrator.

And just a couple of extracts from the report:

The Classification Criteria

For violent video games there are degrees of violence. Gross violence and such things as torture, sadism, horrific depictions of death or injury, motiveless killing and violence towards vulnerable people will attract a PEGI 18 classification.

For video games attracting PEGI 16 violence is permitted at levels which fall short of the violence attracting the 18 classification such as realistic violence and sustained depictions of death or injury to human characters

For video games attracting a PEGI 12 the level of violence falls even lower and includes such things as violence to fantasy characters and unrealistic looking violence.

A similar approach is adopted when dealing with the other main rating issues such as drugs, sex and nudity, crime, and bad language.

If the use of illegal drugs is shown in a game it will attract a PEGI 16 and if the game in any way glamorises the use of illegal drugs the rating will be raised to PEGI 18.

Sexual innuendo, images and descriptions as well as sexual posturing will attract a PEGI 12. If the sex act is shown in a non-explicit manner or there is erotic or sexual nudity the classification will rise to PEGI 16. If it does become explicit then it will go to the PEGI 18 level.

7 If a game in any way glamorises crime it will attract a PEGI 16. A game containing mild swearing will be given a PEGI 12 and the use of any sexual expletives will raise this to PEGI 16.

It is useful to point out that once a single depiction of violence attracts say a PEGI 18 classification the video game concerned can never be classified at a lower level. The PEGI system does not take context into account because the single depiction of violence may be seen many times over as the player may make many attempts play through the level of the game where the single depiction is.

Dealing with public complaints, queries and requests for information

It is probably a reflection of the times to say that almost no letters or phone calls are received by the VSC from the public. Virtually all complaints, queries and requests for information are made directly online to the PEGI public website

In fact PEGI received only 71 complaints about ratings from the whole of European region covered by PEGI ratings.

Read more UK Games Censor News at MelonFarmers.co.uk

See article from guardian.co.uk

Saints Row IV Commander Chief …So, back to Saint’s Row IV. Could the game be banned in Europe under the Pegi system? The answer, for Britain at least, is effectively no. Pegi is a ratings system not a censorship board and has no remit to ban retail releases. However, in situations where a European member country has legislation that may be contravened in the product, Pegi will advise publishers that they may well be breaking laws.

In the UK, video game content is governed by the 1984 Video Recordings Act and its subsequent updates, which Pegi has to take into account when rating games. We’d be talking about paedophilia, or any form of discrimination likely to incite hatred, says operations director, Peter Darby. We’ve got a chair and vice-chair who are designated by the secretary of state to make a decision on whether a game should be given a certificate for release in the UK or not. Obviously that doesn’t effect the rest of Europe, that’s just for the UK. But that’s the process we would use to effectively ban a game in the UK. There’s quite a long process leading up to that, though. We have an expert panel that will look at it and advise on whether it breaches the law or could be deemed harmful. We have Tanya Byron and Geoffrey Robertson QC and the psychologist Dr Guy Cumberbatch — they wouldn’t make a decision, but they’d look at the game and advise us on the sorts of things we need to take into account. Pegi is not a system that in itself bans games. But we will warn publishers to be careful where they release a title, because it could contravene laws.

So what happens in the event of a controversy? Does the government start trying to question the process? The DCMS will never get involved in us coming to a rating decision, says director general Laurie Hall, a veteran of the home video business in the early 80s, when the video nasty controversy erupted. If Keith Vaz raises a question in parliament or whatever, they may ring us to ask what we have to say about it; we’ll say our piece and that may be their reply to Vaz in parliament. But they’re at arm’s length.

…Read the full article

Tomb Raider

Square Enix Tomb Raider PS3 The article also comments on the 18 rating for the recent Tomb Raider release:

So why was Tomb Raider an 18? Before the game’s release last year, there was controversy over a single sequence, referred to in an interview with the game’s executive producer, where Lara is tied up and sexually threatened by a male captor. It turns out, however, that by Pegi rating standards, the moment was so fleeting it didn’t register. I don’t even think I marked it 16 for sexual violence, says Davies. It just didn’t go far enough . No, Tomb Raider received an 18 certificate thanks to a mere handful of gory death animations. Most of the violence is 16-rated, continues Davies. But there’s a particular part where Lara goes down a zip wire and, if you fail to jump off in time, she is impaled through the abdomen and jaw by spikes. That counts as gross violence. It’s basically anything that makes you go, ‘eugh’ .

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

See  news from  bbfc.co.uk
See also article from  bbc.com

Phoenix Checkmate 2 From 30 July and with a few limited exceptions, the responsibility for classifying video games falls to the Video Standards Council, applying the PEGI system.

The BBFC will continue to classify all games featuring strong pornographic (R18 level) content and ancillary games attached to a wider, primarily linear submission.

The BBFC will also examine and offer a determination on certain linear content in video games. This determination will help the Video Standards Council in reaching an overall classification for the video game. The BBFC will offer a determination for linear content which does not contribute to the narrative drive of the game, whether this footage is live action or computer generated; embedded in the game or simply contained on the game disc. Examples of such linear content include the TV material created for the GTA series; video rewards for completing certain tasks or levels within the game; or other video content which does not contribute to the narrative drive of the video game.

The BBFC will continue to classify all non-game linear content on a game disc, such as trailers and featurettes.

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

See  article from  computerandvideogames.com

Capcom Resident Evil 6 PS3 The much-delayed implementation of PEGI as the sole UK video game rating system is now expected to come into force on July 30.

Games will be more or less self rated using PEGI age classifications of 7,12,16 and 18, along with comments about the type of content. The Games Rating Authority (GRA), a division of the Video Standards Council (VSC), will oversee the ratings process, with powers to ban and censor where necessary.

Meanwhile Resident Evil 6 may be one of the last major games to obtain a BBFC certificate. (The cover is already sporting a PEGI rating on advance publicity pictures).

See article from bbfc.co.uk

Resident Evil 6 was passed 18 uncut for strong violence and gore. The game boasts 255:00s of video footage or cut scenes.

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

See  article from  gamesindustry.biz

Games Rating Authority logo The Games Rating Authority, a part of the Video Standards Council, will take over video games censorship from the BBFC next month. The group will use PEGI ratings and symbols, as used across Europe, eg age restrictions will be set at 12, 16 and 18.

The PEGI ratings have been used for sometime on games not featuring realistic video but now they will be used for all games.

Laurie Hall is the director general of the Video Standards Council, the organisation that handles the PEGI rating process in the UK. For clarity sake the Video Standards Council will use the name Games Rating Authority for its new role.

The new mantra for the GRA will be: Games aren’t just for kids. Be responsible . For Hall, the real problem is with parents not realising that games content can now be every bit as graphic as anything in a movie. A lot of parents wouldn’t allow their 12-year-old to watch an ’18’-rated film, Hall agrees: But play an ’18’-rated game? They’re more inclined to. We’ve got to get the message across.

PEGI is stricter than the BBFC, insists Hall somewhat censorially: We’re not ashamed of that at all, because the methodology of rating films is not appropriate for rating games. Games and films are totally different

And with the enthusiasm of a new censor, he stresses: We will have the power to ban a game in the UK. And he outlines the process for banning games, that he considers transparent, fair and legally tight, and which required the Government’s approval.

An Appeals Panel has been set-up, chaired by Baroness Kennedy, a barrister. And beyond that, there’s an Expert Advisory Panel, comprising Tanya Byron, media violence specialist Dr Guy Cumberbatch, and Geoffrey Roberston QC.

Hall explains:

Why we set up the Expert Advisory Panel is the ability to ban a game under the law is very complex – it’s an expert matter. We can only ban something if it is likely to cause harm to the viewer or society in general. You interpret that!

The Panel will not be making the decision – what they will do is advise the designated officers of the factors they must consider in reaching their decision. It was put in place to make sure if a banning decision ever was made it was as watertight as it possibly could be.

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.