U.K. Game Biz Lobbies Against BBFC at Labour Party Gathering

By now, most GamePolitics readers probably know that the U.K. game industry is keen to see the government assign content rating duties to the privately-run Pan European Game Information (PEGI) service. At the same time, the industry is determined to keep the government’s apparent choice, the British Board of Film Classification, at bay.

As reported by gamesindustry.biz, ELSPA, representing U.K. game publishers, has pleaded its case again. At a Labour Party Conference ELSPA boss Paul Jackson adminstered a bashing to the BBFC:

A linear ratings system like the one the BBFC uses is designed for films with a beginning, middle and end where the outcome is always the same. It just can’t cope with the infinite variety and complexity of modern videogames, and the interaction between players.


The film ratings board continually downgrades games classified 18 by PEGI. They go to BBFC 15 or even BBFC 12. History shows us that BBFC ratings – and the UK – would regularly be out of step with our European neighbours.

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  1. desperad0 says:

    Thanks good job;

    Btw, I think Atari and Midway will drop out too, but mostly travesti because  these guys have done nothing travesti or little and need to start saving costs. and dizi izle


    Now I don’t have to get off my ass for the important shit anymore!

    Whats next, ordering pizza from Xbox live?

    Wait… I think that sounds like a good idea.

    But I think voting should MAKE you get off your ass, and see outside or a second while you go vote. I mean, your picking the president of the United States of America for God’s Sake… least you can do is drive down there and punch out a card.

  2. oto kirlama says:

    I’m all for freedom of ttnet vitamin speech and allowing rent a car game makers to put whatever they want in games, but there’s one thing about this app that has me scratching my head.  Correct me if I’m wrong, but from araç kiralama the previous article araba kiralama on this I gathered that players can use Google maps in-game to find the other (real-life?) dealers in their area.  If this is the case, has travesti anyone considered what’s stopping someone from using this app to actually move drugs between hands for reals?

    But majority araba kiralama of their outrage araç kiralama stems from what it could DO TO children, not the content itself.  Talk to one of these people and you’ll find they don’t think any books kiralık araba should be banned from children.  Mention American Psycho and they talk about kiralık araç the redeeming value of using imagination to construct a story.  Reading, no matter what the content, is largely viewed as a consequenceless activity for people of any age.  The reason why I mention American Psycho is because of the content itself.  Gaming never has and likely never will have any scenes where someone has sex with a severed head.  Not gonna happen.  Yet despite this, they’ll fight tooth and nail to protect their children from two boys kissing in Bully but whatever they read is harmless… yeah.

    The entire arguement is kiralık oto based upon a social normality inflicted by luddites who can’t figure out the controls for Halo so it’s frightening and terrifying and obviously the cause of youth violence on the rise even though, in reality, it’s in decline (which is actually a HUGE suprise given minibüs kiralama the economies status).  In  a perfect world, we would have parents that actually parent.  The idea of sales restrictions on media on oto kiralama any form to accomidate parental unwillingness to get involved with their child’s life is the real problem to me.  Here I am, 32 years old, and being held up at a self-scan rent a car needing to show ID before I can buy a $10 M rated game all because Soccer Momthra can’t be bothered to look at the crap Billy Genericallystupidson does in his free time.  It’s too hard for her, so I have to suffer?

  3. Erik says:

    Regardless, Sega has been in contact with censors on your side of the ocean.  As a result the global version of Mad World may be effected.

    And say what you will about our system, we never banned Manhunt 2 now have we?  Furthermore we don’t really have a "system".  If a game company so desired they could release a game without rating from the ESRB. (outside of anti-constitutional laws in New York) how about not having a rating in the UK?  How well would that go over?

  4. SticKboy says:

    It’s not that you’ve stated an admiration for PEGI – it’s just that you’ve been singling out the BBFC for criticism over Mad World the entire time, and then go on to say that the UK should denied games as a result.

    Given that Sega have approached both PEGI and the BBFC, it seems your argument carries more prejudice than logic. Even so, you’ve dodged my comment on No More Heroes completely. The point I am making there is that you didn’t find European commenters banging on about how YOUR system affects OUR games.

  5. Erik says:

    Patriotism?  Heh, that makes me actually laugh.  And from another board I was called unpatrotic for saying that our soldiers are dying in a pointless war started by our ex-cokehead commander-in-thief.  But if you want to say this is fuled by patriotism and not just a hatred for censorship despite where it comes from go ahead.

    Also the ESRB, on my shitlist but lower down from the BBFC, in the US has no real power.  Unlike the BBFC.  The FCC on the otherhand, yeah, those guys are assholes.

  6. State says:

    UK gamers have been subjected to many cuts forced onto developers by the ERSB, I wonder what the content of GTA4 would have been like if Hot Coffee hadn’t have been an issue for the ERSB. The BBFC when asked about Hot Coffee and whether the game needed re-rating they simply stated that the Hot Coffee content was suitable for an 18-rated game and that it would have no effect over the certification.

    Your point about publishers deciding not to sell games in the UK is ridiculous. Companies are in the business to make money and would rather make money than making sure that their games were left untouched.

    Your patriotism blinds you too much, the BBFC is much more liberal when it comes to game classification than the ERSB. It is the UK’s gamers that have suffered at the hands of the ERSB, not the other way around. The BBFC is sensible when it comes to game classification, whereas the ERSB goes on about protecting 17-year "children" from content that is common place in 17-rated films and decides that an 18 certificate is suitable instead.

    The ERSB’s system has had a detrimental effect on games worldwide.

  7. Erik says:

    First off when did I ever state any admiration for PEGI?  To me they seem like the same sad old manure stuffed into a brand new sack.  Secondly as I have stated I’m not any more pleased with Australia for the GLOBAL censorship of Fallout 3.

  8. Nocturne says:

    Your argument makes no sense, we got an intact version of Farenheit after the US version was edited, why do you think (completely hypothetical) changes to a game released in the UK will affect the US version.

    Fallout 3 was edited wordwide due to complaints from the Australian classification board but from statements from the developer at the time that seems to be more on the basis that they can’t be bothered to release different versions in different regions than a cut in one country forced changes elsewhere.

    Sega working with the BBFC and PEGI over Madworld is a very sensible move, there has been no indication that cuts will be made to it at all other than the huge leap in logic your making,

  9. SticKboy says:

    It’s not just the BBFC that Sega are dealing with – they’re in talks with PEGI too, so get your facts straight. See here for proof – http://n-europe.com/news.php?nid=12231. So you’d ban games for the whole of Europe now, is that it?

    Like I said, where’s your ire for the OLFC? Their cuts have have affected the global release of Fallout 3 – the worst the BBFC have ever done is influence the ESRB over the Manuhunt 2 rating decision, which is hardly in the same league. It’s not the BBFC’s fault the ESRB was looking over their shoulder.

    And what about all the times we Europeans have had to endure cuts because of American tastes? No More Heroes springs to mind…


  10. Erik ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    I think I’ve fully explained my "beef".  And Madworld isn’t hypothetical.  Sega has made it clear they are working with the BBFC to clear content.

  11. SticKboy says:

    Since when has an edit by the BBFC ever affected a game sold in the USA? Don’t jump to hypotheticals with SEGA over Mad World, that game hasn’t even been released yet. I’d be more worried about the ESRB if I were you. Or how about Australia? Their edits *have* affected the global edit of Fallout 3?

    WTF is your beef with the UK, Erik? You’re coming across like a real dick here.

  12. Erik ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    That is all fine and dandy until YOUR system starts impacting OUR games.  I don’t approve of the BBFC and I shouldn’t have to.  Why do I have to be subject to edits from some uptight censors from across the sea?  The better solution would be for the gaming industry to declare an embargo of sorts on the UK and just not sell games there.  It would be a win-win situation for everybody.  The UKers get to keep their BBFC to make their media decisions for them, and everyone else gets non-watered down games.

  13. Canary Wundaboy says:

    Im getting really sick of all this hypocritical BBFC bashing coming from the industry at the moment. It’s the system, it isn’t going to change, deal with it. The vast majority of British citizens approve of the BBFC.

  14. Anonymous says:

    …and the interaction between players

    PEGI can’t rate on the intereaction between players either, it’s something completely out of their’s and the developers control, that’s sorta like suggesting you should rate a film on the basis that someone in the cinema might swear

  15. Erik ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    I’m angry at Australia also for recent Fallout 3 edits.  But I don’t recall Sega working with Germany to censor their games.

  16. State says:

    Yes one game.  But the slippery slope from that singular banning has already started its downhill plummet.  Sega is working with the BBFC for possible self censorship.  That is a frightening thought.

    That fact has been overplayed by Sega and is part of a concerted attempt by the games industry to stop the BBFC from rating games. The BBFC is and continues to be one of the most liberal games classification agencies around. Many within the games industry have made outlandish comments regarding the possibility of the next violent game being banned by the BBFC, from Bioshock 2 to Fallout 3 and made in full knowledge that this would not happen. The ERSB has passed out effective bans (the AO rating) to many games including the original Manhunt 2 and uncut Fahrenheit (passed uncut 15 by the BBFC). I would be more worried about the ERSB ‘s classification decisions.

    The whole issue regarding the Manhunt 2 ban has been blown out of proportion and is being used by the games industry to remove the classification process away from independent parties. Their attacks grow more ludicrous each time a new statement is made, from stating that bans are unfair and too strict to classifications of games and the latest Batman film being too lenient. Some of their attacks appear childish.

  17. SticKboy says:

    But not nearly as frightening as the U.S.Army using videogames to recruit school children. ZING!

    Either way Erik, you’re not nearly as vociferous whenever a game is banned in Australia or Germany, nor when the ESRB gives a game an AO rating (or re-jigs the rating post-release). What gives? Or is it just the British slope that’s slippery?

  18. Erik ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Yes one game.  But the slippery slope from that singular banning has already started its downhill plummet.  Sega is working with the BBFC for possible self censorship.  That is a frightening thought.

  19. Anonymous says:

    I do feel sorry for the BBFC which gets unfairly treated by gamers, because essentially they banned one game (this is in comparison with the numerous game bans in Germany and the AO rating of various games in the US).

    Mass Effect was rated 12 by the BBFC yet 18 by PEGI. The only reason I assume PEGI classified it so highly was due to a couple mild sex scenes (which would not be out of place within a 12-rated movie). Now it seems that the BBFC were sensible with that decision, they also refused to be affected by Hot Coffee and stated that a sex scene of that degree would not have any affect over an 18 certificate (indeed I believe the only sex scenes the BBFC would ban would be real sex scenes and by the nature of computer games that isn’t going to happen).

    PEGI fails to realise the differences in cultures which has led to be liberal classification of games by the BBFC. It seems like most classification agencies PEGI has issues with sexual content and rates too strictly when games contain sexual content.

    Essentially the reason why PEGI is supported by the games industry is because it is internal and prevents any games from ever being banned (although PEGI state that they would if needed, but this is unlikely ever to happen), and probably allows for greater control from developers over the classification decision.

    The BBFC isn’t perfect but judging from PEGI classification decisions, PEGI is even worse.

  20. SticKboy says:

    Care to explain your position, or was that last line just a phony jab to make it seem as if you actually understood the debate here?

  21. Deep Thorn ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Left?  where’s the image?

    You can’t rate player interactivity unless you disable their ability to communicate with each other. (Wii games)  While X360 games like Gears of War are rated M in the US, the kids under the age of 14 are the ones that make it AO with their language and how they act.  That is US, Euro, and kids from other countries as well…  Parents need to watch after their kids more.

    The BBFC sounds like a joke though.

  22. Squigs says:

    Hate to break it to ELSPA, but most games are actually pretty linear. There are a few exceptions but even something like Civilization tends to follow a set pattern.

    GTA has a wide area to explore, but just about all the content is based around linear missions.

  23. BunchaKneejerks says:

    More FUD from ELSPA. What rubbish, to say that the BBFC approaches games in the same way as movies is just moronic. They have a clearly different methodology and require a lot more articles in the submission process (in game cinematics, walkthroughs, cheat codes, scripts)

  24. Chuma says:

    Yes… the UK is out of step with its European neighbours…

    Tell you what ELSPA, when the European neighbours are in step with one another you can come back to us.  For now, complaining that the BBFC respects the UK’s attitudes by downgrading ratings in accordance with our own standards only seeks to disprove your point.

  25. Anonymous ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    If other countries fail, the less ties you have with them, the less money you have to spend recovering from their fall, but I think in the long run, it would be cheaper to do with the PEGI it falls apart in 2 years and then they have to get the BBFC ready to take over the game industry stuff.

  26. Anonymous says:

    "The film ratings board continually downgrades games classified 18 by PEGI. They go to BBFC 15 or even BBFC 12. History shows us that BBFC ratings – and the UK – would regularly be out of step with our European neighbours."

    It sounds too much like an excuse to me. If this was something big like foreign policy where the country would be greatly affected, then I would agree. But this clearly isn’t the case.

  27. Anonymous says:

    I’m just glad the ESRB doesn’t think and/or behave in such a way, past bending-over-under-pressure notwithstanding…

  28. Anonymous says:

    ”The film ratings board continually downgrades games classified 18 by PEGI. They go to BBFC 15 or even BBFC 12. History shows us that BBFC ratings – and the UK – would regularly be out of step with our European neighbours.”

    So because PEGI rate games harsher, that makes them better? Very, VERY few games truly deserve 18 ratings, and ignorant statements like this further distort what is and isn’t considered acceptable in media. If a new rating body arrived that rated every game an 18, then by this logic, that makes them vastly superior to PEGI.

    Not that I like the BBFC any better (You are a ratings body, not a fucking moral compass for the world, tell me what’s in the game and let me make my own damn choice!), but viewpoints like these just ask for my contempt.

  29. Anonymous says:

    History shows us that BBFC ratings – and the UK – would regularly be out of step with our European neighbours.


    I’m just wondering what the hell this has to do with anything, France is a lot more tolerant of nudity than the UK, Germany is a lot less tolerant of violence, it’s not like our European neighbours are in step with each other….

  30. Anonymous says:

    Interesting thought, I wonder if we will ever find out how much the BBFC had to compensate Take Two for after the Manhunt 2 thing? They stated they would refund loss of profits, so I’m just wondering what that added up to…

  31. Andrew Eisen says:

    I disagree.  I think the BBFC’s methodology for rating games is fine.  It’s the ability to refuse to rate a title that I take issue with.


    Andrew Eisen

  32. BunchaKneejerks says:

    ELSPA wants the public to trust the industry and here is the head of ELSPA standing in front of the a conference for the UK governments ruling party and blatantly lies to them.


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