In Parliament, Suggestion of "Global Regulatory Future" For Video Games

July 21, 2009 -

In Parliament yesterday, longtime video game industry critic Keith Vaz (Labour) quizzed Siôn Simon (left), Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for Culture, Media & Sport about PEGI ratings and the controversial Japanese game RapeLay.

Conservative Mark Field jumped in on the topic, appearing to suggest the pursuit of a global content rating system for video games. Surprisingly, Simon said that the UK's recent adoption of the European PEGI system was viewed by the Gordon Brown government as "the building block to moving towards a global regulatory future."

The conversation went something like this:

Keith Vaz: What recent discussions has [Simon] had with pan-European game information on the age classification of video games?

Siôn Simon:
I have spoken to the Video Standards Council—the current UK agents for the PEGI system—about the classification of video games and have another meeting scheduled with it very soon. I have also had discussions with the British Board of Film Classification. Both organisations are working hard to ensure the success of the new system.

Keith Vaz:
I thank the Minister for his answer and welcome the steps that the Government are taking on this issue. However, it is still a matter of concern that a game such as "RapeLay", which shows extreme violence against women, can be downloaded from the internet. What steps are the Government taking to ensure that such games are not accessed from the internet, so that children and young people are properly protected?

Siôn Simon: We should be clear that [RapeLay] was not classified, but was briefly available on Amazon and then was banned. The point that my right hon. Friend is making is about games that, like other brutal, unpleasant, illegal content, can be available on the internet. All steps that apply to any other content on the internet will apply to games. Specifically, as part of the Byron review we set up the UK Council for Child Internet Safety to work with content providers, internet service providers and all aspects of Government to make sure that such content cannot be accessed, particularly by children.

Mark Field: The Minister will know that Britain is a great leader in video and computer games, and while I take on board many of the concerns expressed by Keith Vaz, will the Minister recognise that this is a global industry, not simply a European one, and in so far as we are going to have the safeguards to which the right hon. Gentleman refers, we will clearly also need to have global regulation along those lines?

Siôn Simon: The system of regulation for which we have opted—the PEGI system—is pan-European, and as such, we see it as the building block to moving towards a global regulatory future. The key principle is that the markings on games should make it clear to parents which games are suitable for adults and which are suitable and unsuitable for children and young children. Adults should be allowed to access adult content; children most certainly should not.

GP: Readers, what do you think of the idea of a global content rating system? Is it even possible? If so, is it desirable?

Source: They Work For You


Comments

Re: In Parliament, Suggestion of "Global Regulatory Future" ...

I don't think this is a very good idea; the assessment PEGI uses to rate the games clearly states that 'a bum (bottom), boob (breast) or the showing og full frontal nudity is not enough to get the game a description of 'sexual content' or the icon for that this game have sex in it.'

The ESRB (but possiby not all Americans) sees this differently.

For some odd reason certain words in a game will automatically get the game a 16+ or 18+ rating.
At least in the PEGI system; blasphemy will also get the game, in the PEGI, system 16+ or 18+ rating for some odd reason.

And Germany has its own rating system.

 

In short:
People's cultures are very different around the globe, it wouldn't be constructive to do a global rating system or have it...

 

 

 

Re: In Parliament, Suggestion of "Global Regulatory Future" ...

GP: Readers, what do you think of the idea of a global content rating system? Is it even possible? If so, is it desirable?

No, PEGI barely manages with the countries it covers, Portugal has a couple of different age ratings from everywhere else. Have a ratings board which covers even more countries and I can see it becoming a bigger mess quickly.

Re: In Parliament, Suggestion of "Global Regulatory Future" ...

Readers, what do you think of the idea of a global content rating system?

If it's a voluntary ESRB/PEGI-esque thing, then, sure. Granted, it would be a bit silly since every country has different standards, but, yea. If, however, the Under-Secretary wants some sort of international law, well, he can regulate my games after he pries the rifle from my cold dead hands and stuff.

Speaking of which, there really should be a game about the Battle at Lexington Green..

Re: In Parliament, Suggestion of "Global Regulatory Future" ...

It could work but there would be so much "could" involved it would quickly implode on itself.

One could use a measuring stick that compares the main world regions to each other then come up with a nudity is not as bad standard.

Then basically things with violence to non humans is teen level or lower where as to humans is adult level, nudity would not be as much of an issue as sexuality, basically nudity= teen nudity done in any kind of love scene = adult.

Teen starts as low as 12,adult as low as 17,  you can toss in a porn level for 18+ or whatever the porn laws decitact consumption can begins at.

Now so what if you have a standard  your still going to have to allow regions to bumb it up or lower to their standards, its either they get to dictate to the shops what rating sticker goes on stuff or they get to blacklist a game from their region.  I think having the ability to re rate it  would create a situation where the local populaces would laugh their politicians out of office.


Still humanity is still to immature for world government...much less world ratings...

 


I am a criminal because I purchase media,I am a criminal because I use media, I am a criminal because I chose to own media..We shall remain criminals until Corporate stay's outside our bedrooms..


http://zippydsmlee.wordpress.com


Copyright infringement is nothing more than civil disobedience to a bad set of laws. Let's renegotiate them.

---

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Re: In Parliament, Suggestion of "Global Regulatory Future" ...

I never want to hear about RapeLay again. EVER.

I'm sick of hearing the name, I'm sick of the concept, I'm sick of the attention given to it, I don't care if the game depicts pandas brutalized with a titanium fun noodle; I JUST NEVER WANT TO HEAR ABOUT IT EVER AGAIN.

Brain: "Pinky, are you pondering what I'm pondering?" Pinky: "I think so, Brain, but we're already naked."

Re: In Parliament, Suggestion of "Global Regulatory Future" ...

Sadly, only a worst game will remove Rapelay from their minds. For now, it still will be the favorite scapegoat against videogames in the next years.

The cynical side of videogames (spanish only): http://thelostlevel.blogspot.com/ My DeviantArt Page (aka DeviantCensorship): http://www.darkknightstrikes.deviantart.com/

Re: In Parliament, Suggestion of "Global Regulatory Future" ...

I hope this global system does not outright ban video games and just gives them an 18 and leaves it at that.

Re: In Parliament, Suggestion of "Global Regulatory Future" ...

You know they would, because nobody would have any oversight over them.

---

Freedom of speech means the freedom to say ANYTHING, so long as it is the truth. This does not exclude anything that might hurt someone's feelings.

--- With the first link, the chain is forged.

Re: In Parliament, Suggestion of "Global Regulatory Future" ...

As many have said, a "global rating system" is not happening at all with too many cultural differences between the various countries of the world.

Hell, here in the U.S., talk of a "universal rating system" for games, movies, TV, and music(which some of these countries have) is automatically null and void because the various rating systems are copyrighted by their respective industries.

As far as Keith Vaz-gina goes, he's a liar and a fraud. Enough said.

Geaux Saints, Geaux Tigers, Geaux Hornets, Jack Thompson can geaux chase a chupacabra.

Geaux Saints, Geaux Tigers, Geaux Pelicans. Solidarity for the Saints = No retreat, no surrender. 2013 = Saints' revenge on the NFL. Even through the darkest days, this fire burns always.

Re: In Parliament, Suggestion of "Global Regulatory Future" ...

Meh goverments can buy them out rather easily.....that or take away thier ablity to rate products by making thier own thing that underminds the current boards.

 


I am a criminal because I purchase media,I am a criminal because I use media, I am a criminal because I chose to own media..We shall remain criminals until Corporate stay's outside our bedrooms..


http://zippydsmlee.wordpress.com


Copyright infringement is nothing more than civil disobedience to a bad set of laws. Let's renegotiate them.

---

http://zippydsm.deviantart.com/

Re: In Parliament, Suggestion of "Global Regulatory Future" ...

Parents already ignore the ESRb that has been in place for quite awhile.  What makes these chaps think that a global rating system will change anything?

 

As an adult, as long as "I" can buy and play what "I" want, I don't really care about a rating system...localized or global.

 

Trevor Gray
ganjookie@yahoo.com

Trevor Gray
ganjookie@yahoo.com

Re: In Parliament, Suggestion of "Global Regulatory Future" ...

I am hesitant (at best) at the idea of putting that much power into a "world" org.  Who exactly would they answer to?  How would they handle it if country "A" did not like a part (the recent religious idiocy comes to mind) but country "B" was ok with the thing.  What system of grading would they use etc etc.  

Have to wonder how much pull say Petrodollars would have on such a system if it existed.   Bad idea methinks. 

Re: In Parliament, Suggestion of "Global Regulatory Future" ...

A single global video game ratings system? Never gonna happen.

We can barely get countries to agree not to blow each other up.

Re: In Parliament, Suggestion of "Global Regulatory Future" ...

That´s pretty much the answer about this thread. Too many social-cultural issues to claim for a "global system".

The sad part is that is not about needs of the people, that I can agree are not the same. This is motivated by an illusory sense of control and power coated with political correctness bias. They hate videogames, so they´ll try to ban them at any cost.

In top of that, they believe they can impose their views easy. They don´t take in count other opinions and they seem to ignore that there are many cultures even in their own territories that are not agree with them in many stances, not only games.

I really hope this explodes in their face someday. I think many people is still waiting for Keith Vaz being kicked from politics for being a corrupt hypocrite.

The cynical side of videogames (spanish only): http://thelostlevel.blogspot.com/ My DeviantArt Page (aka DeviantCensorship): http://www.darkknightstrikes.deviantart.com/

Re: In Parliament, Suggestion of "Global Regulatory Future" ...

Now that I think about it, I remember reading about the days before MPAA ratings.

 

Before the ratings system was implemented, indivisual states ad neven towns had their own ratings boards, making marketing movies nationally pretty much impossible. This would essentially cause the same problem. Due to different standards, different local ratings boards would form cuasing huge problems for developers and publishers alike.

Re: In Parliament, Suggestion of "Global Regulatory Future" ...

i think it is a bad idea and extremely out of the realm of possibility.

what is socially acceptible in all contries of the world varies greatly, and if a global ratings system is enforced it would mean that gamers in one geographic who are accustomed to less censored games would begin to have stricter censorship rules applied to them, which would cause severe criticism of a new global system; or, on the same side of the coin, gamers who are accustomed to more censored games would be given access to less censored games, which we all know will cause all kinds of firestorms.

not only that, but there would be a battle that rages on for god knows how long before a ratings system is even established, because all of the various countries would have proponents saying that "this is unacceptable, it cannot be allowed in a video game," while at the same time there would be people arguing that one thing or another isnt deserving of this rating or that.

for better or worse, i think it is better to maintain the status quo.

 

Re: In Parliament, Suggestion of "Global Regulatory Future" ...

Why are we wasting time talking about something that will NEVER happen?

Does anyone else remember...

When the comments on gp didn't sound the same as the comments on Kotaku, Joystiq, Youtube and /b/? I think that may have been as far back as the LJ days...

 

I agree with the people who've said the obvious: even amongst western cultures there are just too many differences to have a single rating entity. As for the people saying "Obama shouldn't be president and is socialist" and "desu desu desu 1m get" I say: please leave. 

Re: Does anyone else remember...

 No one said Obama shouldn't be president.  He won by not only the majority of people but by the electoral college.  By every right he should be the president of the United States.  However, he is quite socialist in many of his beliefs.

Re: Does anyone else remember...

Agreed, on every point.  I have been very critical of President Obama for some time, but have never suggested the idea that he has no right to be President.  He won.  I'm okay with that.  Just don't change the country for the worst.

---

Freedom of speech means the freedom to say ANYTHING, so long as it is the truth. This does not exclude anything that might hurt someone's feelings.

--- With the first link, the chain is forged.

Re: In Parliament, Suggestion of "Global Regulatory Future" ...

Three words. Not gonna happen.

Far too many cultural differences. In one country homosexuality may be accepted, while in another even hinting at it means a prison sentence.

Hell, in Germany zombie blood had to be turned green,, and in Australia games are outright banned more commonly than necessary. And there are two countries that won't even discuss this, Australia as one of their AGs won't even discuss the possiblity ot letting certain games be sold in the country, and Germany as they are VERY intent on making sure people pretend parts of their history never happened.

 

And trying to impose othis on the rest of the planet. How many other people, people i nthe UK included, think only Americans d othat again?

Re: In Parliament, Suggestion of "Global Regulatory Future" ...

You could have just said "Germany" and left it at that. If their tight-ass whining were to be considered in every part of the globe as part of a global ratings system, we'd have lame as hell games with no violence, or they'd be bitching because we're not listening to them and rating the games in a fashion that THEY think is wrong. The moment somebody uses their index finger to beckon to the player is the moment Sri Lankan gamers are shocked because it's construed as an obscene gesture.

Then you'd have national worries- rating games "incorrectly" according to some nations because they portray the nation negatively. Too much trouble.

Re: In Parliament, Suggestion of "Global Regulatory Future" ...

If there is a global wide government in the future i'd personally prefer global wide Free Speech (sort of like a global First Amendment) with no restrictions and censorship of media whatsoever. Leave it up to individuals to decide what they wish to watch, play, read or listen to and the sole responsibility of the parents to keep their children away from media THEY find inappropriate or unsuitable for them. The less the government gets involved in our lives as long as our actions aren't hurting anybody else or taking/destroying their property the better.

 "No law means no law" - Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black on the First Amendment

"No law means no law" - Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black on the First Amendment

Re: In Parliament, Suggestion of "Global Regulatory Future" ...

As many people have pointed out, cultural differences make it a bad idea.  Sure, every now and then we have an arguement about who's "right" in the great "violence vs. sex debate" (US or EU), but at the end of the day there is no "right" answer.  Cultures in different countries have evolved differently, and there's nothing inherently wrong with that.

But it also means that a ratings system for North America would be ill fitting for the gamers of Europe.  The ESRB mirrors our society's ideas of child protection.  Likewise, the PEGI probably wouldn't be suited for a US audience, either, as it reflects European standards of "decency." (except Germany, those poor gamers)  Now, maybe this will someday change and the entire world will have the same basic ideas on everything.  I would actually lament the loss of diversity, but should that day come, a global ratings system would amke sense.

Of course, we Americans would have nothing major to fear from such a ratings system.  While it's plausable to use the same system, it doesn't mean that European style bannings and laws would follow.  Our Constitutionally protected free speech (something most other countries don't have hard-coded into thier legal system like we do) would mean that they still couldn't ban games or legally stop stores from selling Mature-equivalent to minors, no matter if it's the ESRB or the PEGI or anything else.

Re: In Parliament, Suggestion of "Global Regulatory Future" ...

 However, it is still a matter of concern that a game such as "RapeLay", which shows extreme violence against women, can be downloaded from the internet

Um.. yeah.. ILLEGALLY.

So .. its a crime then isnt it Mr Vaz.

 

Problem solved. God i hate him so much.

 

Re: In Parliament, Suggestion of "Global Regulatory Future" ...

There's also the fact that it wasn't a downloadable game, but rather a hard copy bought off of Amazon, which means that hon. Minister Vaz is full of shit, has his facts totally wrong, and not so honorable.

Then there's the fact that even if it was downloadable, that's outside of the realms of the PGEI anyways, which makes bringing up this example of game ratings is a total waste of time. 

Re: In Parliament, Suggestion of "Global Regulatory Future" ...

Everything can be downloaded off of the Internet, surely he's heard that the Internet exists for porn?


Re: In Parliament, Suggestion of "Global Regulatory Future" ...

Sadly, this is a general problem.

There is more political captial to be gained by implementing new laws (with your name and face on them) then there is in properly enforcing old laws.

There is a public perception that if a problem persists, it must mean new laws are needed.  Implementing new laws is easier and less painful to the public then more pedestrian things like giving the police (or social services, etc) enough funding to actually enforce existing laws.

Re: In Parliament, Suggestion of "Global Regulatory Future" ...

GP: Readers, what do you think of the idea of a global content rating system? Is it even possible? If so, is it desirable?

Not possible. Too many conflicting standards and interests to do it.

-Gray17

-Gray17

Re: In Parliament, Suggestion of "Global Regulatory Future" ...

When all cultures are the same, sure, but that isn't the case. Plus, I am too attact to the ESRB logos to switch to PEGI.

Re: In Parliament, Suggestion of "Global Regulatory Future" ...

There isn't even a global consensus on what age people are allowed have sex, never mind seeing naughty things in games.

There are too many cultural differences between all of the countries in the world for there to be any kind of consensus on something like entertainment ratings. What is tame in one country will be seen as offensive or shocking in another. Even if it's not mature content, massive cultural differences exist about all manner of things. Take colours. The English football team had to change from their traditional white strip to another colour when they played in Japan because in their culture, white is the colour associated with death and mourning.

When something so simple can mean a change like that, how can they expect a global agreement on the age appropriateness of anything in the massive scope of content video games cover.

Re: In Parliament, Suggestion of "Global Regulatory Future" ...

Not to digress too much, but the fact that they had to change the color is stupid. Political correctness is one of the scourges of society.

People get offended far too easily. 

Re: In Parliament, Suggestion of "Global Regulatory Future" ...

GP: Readers, what do you think of the idea of a global content rating system? Is it even possible? If so, is it desirable?

I don;t think it will happen for the next few decades. Many countries has different rules with regards to video games and such leave too much for a global aiting system to handle.

http://www.magicinkgaming.com/

Re: In Parliament, Suggestion of "Global Regulatory Future" ...

A simple and resounding 'no' is my response.

First secure an independent income, then practice virtue. -Greek Proverb

First secure an independent income, then practice virtue. -Greek Proverb

Re: In Parliament, Suggestion of "Global Regulatory Future" ...

It would be an interesting attempt at true international law in a sense. But there's simply too much varying in what is considered culturally acceptable. For example:

Australia with its no 18+ rating

The U.S. were the mention of the word Penis earns you an instant 17+

Germany with its massive restrictions on anything Nazi related

and then Japan where massive tentacle monsters viciously raping fourteen year old girls is the #1 rated Saturday morning cartoon (I kid, I kid)

Just too much varying to get global uniformity

Re: In Parliament, Suggestion of "Global Regulatory Future" ...

Sounds like the beginnings of a move to bring internet filtering to the UK.  After all, think about the children and keeping Rapelay away from their internets.

Re: In Parliament, Suggestion of "Global Regulatory Future" ...

They'd face an awful lot more trouble getting something like that imposed in the UK to be honest, Australia only got away with it by flying under the radar a lot of the time, any UK Government trying to do something like that would be in the centre of an Academic shitstorm of epic proportions.

Re: In Parliament, Suggestion of "Global Regulatory Future" ...

I hope you are right...

Re: In Parliament, Suggestion of "Global Regulatory Future" ...

Similar ideas were suggested on University Campus' in the UK after those students were arrested on Terrorist charges, and there was an outcry, most Universities run their own firewalls anyway, but they certainly weren't prepared to accept the concept of a Government-moderated one.

Re: In Parliament, Suggestion of "Global Regulatory Future" ...

The Minister will know that Britain is a great leader in video and computer games...

Where the fuck they get that? Those assholes really believe they will impose their views all over the world (but sure, they will get along with australians and germans). Delusional idiotic morons.

The cynical side of videogames (spanish only): http://thelostlevel.blogspot.com/ My DeviantArt Page (aka DeviantCensorship): http://www.darkknightstrikes.deviantart.com/

Re: In Parliament, Suggestion of "Global Regulatory Future" ...

Well we are the 4th largest producer of video games behind USA, Japan and Canada, soon to drop to 5th when South Korea take over us.

But if it makes you feel better I'm sorry we are imposing our games on you!

Re: In Parliament, Suggestion of "Global Regulatory Future" ...

Well, you make me feel like an ass... And my intention wasn´t attack british game producers.

The cynical side of videogames (spanish only): http://thelostlevel.blogspot.com/ My DeviantArt Page (aka DeviantCensorship): http://www.darkknightstrikes.deviantart.com/

Re: In Parliament, Suggestion of "Global Regulatory Future" ...

You just did, what else could we interpret your comments as?


Re: In Parliament, Suggestion of "Global Regulatory Future" ...

Wah?

Re: In Parliament, Suggestion of "Global Regulatory Future" ...

Totally and completely against the concept of a Global rating system, there's no system in the world that could possibly express the vast difference in what is culturally and locally acceptable in content.

As for Vaz, find something important to complain about, you, or your peers, aren't in very good standing with the British public right now, something to do with you conning us for the sake of your own pockets, I'd strongly suggest you start acting as though you are representing the public and not your own personal crusades with your not inconsiderable wages.

Re: In Parliament, Suggestion of "Global Regulatory Future" ...

In theory, the idea of any kind of global community is brilliant, and this is no exception. How many headaches must already be caused by having to have every game and every bit of DLC for a game indivudually rated in each territory? And lord knows German gamers would welcome something like this.

Problem is, of course, that by its very nature, this would require a lot of people to rewrite a lot of laws from scratch. *sigh*.

Re: In Parliament, Suggestion of "Global Regulatory Future" ...

Theory doesn't generally translate so well into practice in these sorts of situations. 

Re: In Parliament, Suggestion of "Global Regulatory Future" ...

German gamers, highly likely.

German politicians... is there a numaber beyond negative infinity?

Re: In Parliament, Suggestion of "Global Regulatory Future" ...

 negative infinity ++?

Re: In Parliament, Suggestion of "Global Regulatory Future" ...

Won't happen any time in the near future. To make it work, you'd have to pander to the people who are very sensitive to the content in video games ala Michael Atkinson and Keith Vaz. I'm leaving JT out of this because he has no real governmental authority. And since Atkinson won't even discuss the idea of a Mature rating...

 
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