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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Matthew Wilson@info depends on the sector. for example, have you looked at how powerful unions are in the public sector? I will make the argument they have too much power in that sector.07/07/2015 - 12:39pm
InfophileIt's easy to worry about unions having too much power and causing harm. The odd thing is, why do people seem to worry about that more than the fact that business-owners can have too much power and do harm, particularly at a time when unions have no power?07/07/2015 - 12:31pm
Matthew Wilsonthe thing is unions earned their bad reputation in the US. the way unions oparate the better at your job you are, the likely you want to be in a union.07/07/2015 - 11:33am
InfophilePut that way, "right to work" seems to have BLEEP-all to do with gay rights. Thing is, union-negotiated contracts used to be one of the key ways to prevent employers from firing at will. Without union protection, nothing stops at-will firing.07/07/2015 - 11:06am
Infophilehas an incentive to pay dues if they're represented either way, so the union is starved for funds and dies, unless things are bad enough that people will pay dues anyway.07/07/2015 - 11:02am
InfophileFor those who don't know, "right to work" laws mean that it can't be a condition of an employment contract that you pay union dues. That is, the right to work without having to pay dues. Catch is, unions have to represent non-members as well, so no one...07/07/2015 - 11:01am
MechaCrashUnexpected? Seriously?07/07/2015 - 10:55am
Mattsworknamejob they wanted without the unions getting involved. The problem is, it has some unexpected side effects, like the ones Info mentioned07/07/2015 - 8:49am
MattsworknameThe problem being, right to work states exsist specificly as a counter to Unions, as the last 20 or so years have shown, the unions have been doing this countries economoy NO favors. The right to work states came into being to allow people to work any07/07/2015 - 8:49am
Infophile(cont'd) discriminatory. This can only be done for protected classes which are outlined in law (race, sex, religion, ethnicity everywhere, sexual orientation in some states). So, a gay person could be fired because they're gay and have no recourse there.07/07/2015 - 7:27am
Infophile@Goth: See here: http://www.snopes.com/politics/sexuality/firedforbeinggay.asp for a good discussion on it. Basically, the problem is that in the US, most states allow at will firing, and it's the burden of the fired person to prove the firing was ...07/07/2015 - 7:25am
Goth_SkunkAssuming that's true, then that is a fight worth fighting for.07/07/2015 - 6:58am
Yuuri@ Goth_Skunk, in many states being gay is not a protected status akin to say race or religion. It's also in the "Right to work" states. Those are the states where one can be fired for any reason (provided it isn't a "protected" one.)07/07/2015 - 6:07am
Goth_Skunkregarded as a beacon of liberty and freedom that is the envy of the world, would not have across-the-board Human Rights laws that don't at the very least equal those of my own country.07/07/2015 - 5:47am
Goth_SkunkI find that hard to believe, Infophile. I have difficulty believing employers can *still* fire people for being gay. I would need to see some evidence that this is fact, because as a Canadian, I can't believe that the United States,07/07/2015 - 5:46am
InfophileFor that matter, even women don't yet have full legal equality with men. The US government still places limits on the positions women can serve in the military. And that's just the legal side of things - the "culture wars" are more than just laws.07/07/2015 - 5:43am
InfophileAnd that's just LGB issues. Get ready for an incoming battle on rights for trans* people. And then after that, a battle for poly people.07/07/2015 - 5:41am
InfophileA battle's been won. In many states employers can still fire people for being gay. And in many states, parents can force their children into reparative therapy to try to "fix" being gay. Those battles still need to be fought.07/07/2015 - 5:40am
Goth_Skunkand now they've switched to battles that don't need to be fought.07/07/2015 - 5:37am
Goth_SkunkIn my opinion, it was the final legal hurdle denying homosexual couples final and recognized statuses as eligible spouses. But even though this war's been won, some people are still too keen to keep fighting battles,07/07/2015 - 5:28am
 

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