Archive for the ‘VSC Games Censor’ Category

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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.

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VSC logoThe Video Standards Council announced this morning that the Department for Culture Media & Sport (DCMS) has confirmed their intention to appoint the organization as the regulator for rating games in the United Kingdom using the PEGI system used for the rest of Europe. The DCMS has informed the UK Parliament of their intentions.Laurie Hall, Director-General of the VSC said:

This news is very welcome and gives us the mandate to undertake the role of statutory video games regulator in the UK. It is role that we will relish and which will ensure that children and younger people are protected and kept safe from inappropriate video games.

It has been a long and arduous task to arrive at this point and we thank all those involved in helping to establish PEGI as the legally recognised system. All the necessary administrative and technical systems are in place and we are simply awaiting confirmation of when we can officially start. The VSC has been rating video games since 1994. We will use our wealth of skill and experience to good effect in our new role as the national video games regulator.

No official date has been set but July this year has been mentioned several times.

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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.

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EU flagThe last report of the handover of video game censorship from the BBFC to the 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.

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Disneys Christmas Carol Nintendo DS

  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 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.

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VSC logoThe 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’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.

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UBI Soft We Dare PS3Due 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).