UK Game Raters: What They Earn, What They Do

May 15, 2008 -

Among gamers, the British Board of Film Classification is best known for issuing a controversial ban on Manhunt 2 last summer.

In the wake of the Byron Review, however, the organization's game rating future is up in the air as the UK video game industry has expressed a preference for using the PEGI rating system. With that backdrop, Spong takes a look at the BBFC and how games get rated there. Press officer Sue Clark told Spong:

[Examiners] have to be good at playing games. There are no 'formal' qualifications... but you do have to have a good level of education and a good grasp of English as you are required to produce well argued written reports... Most games are played by at least two examiners and if necessary several may play the game.

Clark said that the average BBFC examiner is in his or her mid-thirties. Of the 32 employed, 19 are men and 13 are women. They are well-paid, earning from  £33.950 to £45,758 [US $66,036 - $89,003].

You also have to have an interest in film because games examiners don't just classify games. It also helps if you have an understanding of child development because the majority of the works classified are for people under the age of 18.


Comments

replay

Well we have an elite here in my opinion. a very accurate track editor and extreme speeds. but if they are making a gsurfers 2, make a ship maker! :) still 5/5 from Game-Rater

Wow

They get paid that much? I wonder how much an ESRB rater gets paid.

Oh sure, when a monkey does it, that's fine. But whenever I throw barrels at an Italian plumber, then its a hate crime! - Stephen Colbert

Paid to Play

A friend of mine is a part-time examiner with the BBFC. He's in his 30s and has always been a gamer, but has also had a career in the law and media. He was involved in the rating of Gears of War and many other gamesas well as films. Watching porn for a living isn't as glamerous as you might think.

They are all pretty experienced people who have varied media interests. I'm pretty happy that they do a good job within the contrainsts in which they work.




Wow!

These guys make a lot of money for playing games. What I wouldn't give to have that job.

The BBFC (human) system is

The BBFC (human) system is far better than the PEGI box ticking approach. A human can weigh up the cumulative effect of events in a game where as PEGI relies on which boxes have been ticked by the games own publisher.


Re: The BBFC (human) system is

Actually a human assessment without some level of box ticking quantitation could easily be more subjective. I'd prefer a hybrid myself, the BBFC seem to go part way there with swear words but don't give much detail on how the rest of the content is assessed. There must be guidelines describing what levels of violence/sex fit in which rating, it can't be as free form as this interview would suggest.

Gift.

You are probably right, but

You are probably right, but this kind of system is just begging to be abused by biased people with ulterior agendas.


---- There is a limit for both politicians against video games, and video games against politicians.

...Spong?

I'll grant that it's been years since my days at the GameFAQs forums, but...isn't Spong notoriously unreliable?

Subjective ratings *might* be better

I am sure they have guidelines, but I am sceptical that completely objective standards would accomplish anything useful.  Where a 1.5-3 hour movie might succumb to objective age-ratings (such as, a certain quota of swear words, certain types of nudity, or a certain level of gore), a game that is designed for 50-100 hours or more of play might have deeper hard-to-quantify issues.  Such as, are moral decisions handled well?  If the player wants to choose a path of evil, does the game allow/condone/encourage/discourage it?


I think, for example, a game that is morally grey, rather than black and white, would be more suited to a mature audience.

In any case, movie-type ratings cannot directly translate into game ratings, and anyone that doesn't play and enjoy games should not be rating them.

No real guideline?

Wouldn't it be better to have a guideline as to what is and isn't appropriate for certain age groups (on a classification front?) I mean, if you end up with people making an opinion instead of basing it against a checklist, you end up with a bit (or in the worst case scenario, a lot) of bias in terms of the person's personal values.


The system is "fail" on the count that now, you have developers having to scratch their heads and wonder "Who's gonna review my game over there today?"
 
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ConsterOh look, a GoFundMe campaign for Memories Pizza is almost at 50k already. Never assume people can't rally behind a bigoted cause just as well as behind a non-bigoted cause.04/02/2015 - 4:49am
Andrew EisenThe multiple Fire Emblem versions might be more complicated than we thought. http://kotaku.com/japans-new-fire-emblem-has-four-versions-is-crazy-169515313004/02/2015 - 1:29am
ZippyDSMleeWhere is "Yes, if it was monetized." In the questions?04/01/2015 - 9:07pm
E. Zachary Knighthttp://reason.com/blog/2015/04/01/this-anti-gay-pizza-place-got-trashed-on04/01/2015 - 8:17pm
E. Zachary KnightAccording to this link, the pizzeria owner did not actually refuse anyone service. He was ask by a reporter if he would cater to a gay wedding and he answered in the negative. When that was published, the rants came rolling in.04/01/2015 - 8:17pm
Papa MidnightCorrection to my prior note, DiRT 3 Complete Edition does NOT replace DiRT 3 in user's libraries. But existing owners of DiRT 3 do get it for free.04/01/2015 - 8:00pm
Matthew Wilson@AE it could be like pokemo, but the tweet and the site makes it look like 2 different games. tbf I do not know Japanese.04/01/2015 - 7:29pm
MechaCrashInteresting how YouTube comments are universally acknowledged to be cesspits of idiocy where no coherent thought can survive, until a woman closes them. Then it's CENSORSHIP and being AFRAID OF DEBATE.04/01/2015 - 7:29pm
Andrew EisenThat's... weird. The Direct made it sound like this was an organic part of a single game.04/01/2015 - 7:08pm
Matthew Wilsonapparently the 2 sides of the story in the new fire emblem game is 2 difrent games in japan, and we are getting both combined. https://twitter.com/RPGSite/status/583415770744393729/photo/104/01/2015 - 7:00pm
MonteAE: there are pizzaria's that also make italian food which you can order in bulk to cater parties. Also, google pizza wedding; cause it is pretty cool04/01/2015 - 6:50pm
ConsterThe vast majority of (if not all) 1-star reviews are angry rants about its policy. 'Jesus said to love thy neighbor, assholes' (paraphrased) seems very common.04/01/2015 - 6:49pm
Matthew WilsonI did not check it out personaly. I only read a arctlice about it, but it does seem to be in a lets just say a very mean way.04/01/2015 - 6:41pm
Andrew EisenTrashed in a fair way or are people lying about cockroach infestations and stuff?04/01/2015 - 6:24pm
Matthew Wilsonwell they also are getting trashed on yelp too. given the number of people that use it, I suspect they will lose allot of business even if they change their mind.04/01/2015 - 6:19pm
Andrew EisenIt's a pizza joint. It caters weddings? Really? I mean, that's cool. Really cool, even. But seriously?04/01/2015 - 6:02pm
Consterhttp://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/04/01/indiana-pizza-gay-couples_n_6985208.html04/01/2015 - 5:57pm
Andrew EisenConster - Link?04/01/2015 - 5:55pm
Conster-annnd they are 'temporarily closed' after phone threats. Way to take the moral high ground against bigotry, people. -,-04/01/2015 - 5:51pm
ConsterThe first business to use SB101 to deny service to gay weddings has arisen - let's see if EZK's theory about the free market being sufficient to deal with them holds u-04/01/2015 - 5:50pm
 

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