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" ...

Isn't the only difference between PEGI and ESRB simply the 18 instead of 17? But there's some material that isn't found as offensive here as in the USA, so I'd expect this wouldn't work. Yeah, that's right, I'm blaming YOU guys for something. AL might think his USA is so perfect and an example to follow for everyone, but I think there's plenty of improvement possible both at USA and at Europe.

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

I'd have to disagree with you on that one. While I can agree that there are things that need fixing in both the US and EU, I've heard of more games being banned or altered for content in the EU than in the US.

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

Just for Germans, in other countries we enjoy unaltered and uncensored games.

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

But wasn't Manhunt 2 banned in the UK after it was refused classification by the BBFC? Or did they repeal that ban and I just completely missed the boat on that news?

Plus, didn't the Manchester cathedral raise a big stink about Resistance: Fall of Man after they used "images" of a cathedral...although I guess that's more the religion than the government.

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

It was banned, appealed and un-banned, I'm still amazed that this is used as an example that the system is broken in some way, I can't think of any other country that would reverse a ban like that in the current political climate.

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

 I would argue that the system is broken in the UK simply because it was banned in the first place.  Props on fixing that mistake, btw, but that doesn't change the fact that the mistake was made, and can be made again.

To clarify this point, any ban, be it short term or indefinite, by a government body on a form of speech, be it video games, books, movies, television, comic books, public speech, radio, and any other form of expression, is horrendously, and morally wrong.

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

Well, there will always be confontation between people's opinion of what is acceptable or not, and let's face it, if ever there was stuff that was going to be considered borderline, it's games like Manhunt 2.

Now, I'll admit, that's as much to do with the public perception of the medium as with the content of the game, if Manhunt had been a movie, it would not have been banned, and it's that stereotype we all have to work against, but the simple fact that the British courts saw that, and agreed with it is, at the very least, extremely hopeful.

The UK courts aren't as rooted in precedent as the US ones, but it does still mean that the BBFC, had they continued to rate games, would have had to adjust their rating procedures to account for that loss, because if it happens too often, they get asked some very awkward questions by some very public figures, and discrimination is a big deal in the UK.

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

Which is a good one on the UK.  The BBFC was broken, it took it's powers too far, got beat down by the courts, and now a different system is used.  It's a very good process, and I fully support it.  I was simply making the point that the BBFC was broken. 

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

Yes we got rid of the "broken" BBFC to replace it with PEGI, the organisation that believes Mass Effect is a pornographic game and has consistently overrated games in comparison to organisations such as the BBFC, whilst as the same time giving additional powers to the VSC to ban any game that it wants to regardless of rating by PEGI. Yes we're in a much better place now.


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

 Hey, UK showed a progression.  Sometimes they don't always get it right on the first or second try.  They realized that the BBFC wasn't good, so they changed.  When they realize the PEGI sucks, they'll hopefully switch again.

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

Forgive my ignorance on the situation, but now that the BBFC is out and PEGI is in, is the PEGI a private entity like the ESRB or is the PEGI now under government control like the BBFC? I'm just curious.

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

The BBFC isn't out, it continues to rate games.  Also BBFC is independant as would be PEGI, however PEGI would have to adhere to any guidelines laid out by law just as BBFC had to.

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

From what I understand the PEGI rates the games and submits their ratings to a government body (the VSC). The VSC can change the rating or completely ban the game if they should so choose.

Feel free to correct me.

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

UK is not part of european union :p and we don't give a shit about religion.

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

hehehe fair enough!

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

Fuck that noise.

Of course the fact that they seem bent on forcing ISP's to be content police worries me more than anything.

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

So you're worried that ISPs are being told that they must help combat child porn?


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

That's not what he meant and you know it. 

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

Are the Brits trying to step in to become the world's moral police?

Frankly I think it's impractical. Each society has different views on what is offensive. To say that one standard of values should be imposed on the world is arrogant and ignorant.

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

 Members of the british parliament being arrogant and ignorant!?  I'm shocked and appalled.

Being serious though, I would like to thank the honorable ministher Vinzent on his wise remarks, and I would like to express that I concur whole-heartedly.

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

Excellent! Order of business concluded! Gentlemen, bring on the whores!

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

I like how this guy said adults should be able to play adult games.  But I have a feeling that it meens content that the VSC says adults can play. :(

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

Long term? It will probably happen eventually.  As cultures become more and more similar over time, the need for separate rating systems based off local sensibilities decreases.

Eventually the only purpose they serve is to pump money and power into local bureaucracies.

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

And it is, perhaps, that pumping of money and power which may make globalization difficult, if not impossible. Why would the ESRB willingly surrender all that money and power to some global rating service? Unless they were somehow allowed to share in the money and power which would accrue to that newly-established global service? What would be in it for them?  

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

Short/Medium term, there is no advatnage to the ESRB (unless they manage to be the ones runing the new global system).

The way I see this happening is that over time (read: generations) a global level system will slowly emerge and slowly surplant the ESRB/PEGI/etc via industry and customers simply seeing less value in the 'local only' ratings system.

Eventually we will get industry complaints saying things like 'getting a rating per area is just too time consuming anyway, and since BigMartMark7 supports NewFangledRatingSystem in all of it's world wide stores anyway, we finally dropped the ESRB'

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

I would hope that the US tells the 'global regulatory' agency to go eat a dick.  Sadly, with our current president having no spine and being, basically, a fucking socialist, I don't see that happening.

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

I'm a socialist, and I resent the notion that you'd call me, or any other person who has a similar political opinion a "fucking" anything.

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

Tear;(

I'm a Conservative, and I get lumped with the crazies on the right on GP.  Grow a pair of balls and stop crying.

---

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" ...

 are you sad that harsh words were said at you in an argument on the internet? :(

Do you need to hold someone's hand till you feel better?

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

I resent that you are resentful.  Are we even now?   

Mostly things posted here are not personal and those that are are generally known to be.  Might I recommend Decaff?

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

And there you go the fuck again. If you want a leader with a "spine," why not head to North Korea, eh? There, you got someone who has the balls to threaten the US. Enough spine for you?

And Obama is no socialist, so you and the rest of the godforsaken GOP can (but won't) can it. I'm American, but also, I AM a Socialist, and proud to be one! Just because we are socialist, does not mean we want authoritarian rule; we believe just as much in freedom as everyone else!

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

I beg your fucking pardon?  Obama isn't a socialist?  Oh really?  Because he sure seems to be a big fan of HUGE, FED-RUN CLUSTERFUCK PROJECTS, FORCING PEOPLE INTO 'GOVERNMENT HEALTHCARE', and forcing the rich to pay for everyone else in ways not seen in quite a while, as well as BUYING INDUSTRIES.  Sounds like socialism to me, but hey, maybe I'm just a jaded cold-war kid.

And while we're on N. Korea, what a great example of how spineless our president is.  They threaten all the nations around him, and all he sends is a strongly worded 'you've been naughty' speech.  What leadership. 

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

This isn't a reply to Austin, it's to all of you.

I'd like to thank you all for another highly entertaining argument about American politics. Looking in from the outside, it's not possible for me to comprehend this hate between 'liberals' and 'conservatives'. But yeah, keep it up I guess? 

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

This is fairly tame here. If you go to a website called Townhall, you will see conservatives there advocating for revolution, civil war, and outright slaughter of anyone they disagree with.  I'm trying to calcuate the odds that there will be another civil war-ish split in the US and people keep talking about how bad Bin Laden is and a threat to the US? Maybe its just me, but Im generally more concerned about driving down the interstate then a middle eastern terrorist with a bomb and that was true when I was in the army.

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

 then there's groups like Greenpeace and people like Theodore Kaczynski on the left...

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

Don't forget the Daily KOS or the Huffington Post or the NY Times or NBC News... the list goes on.

---

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" ...

If you go to Greenpeace, you can see the same thing.  Once again, extremism sucks.

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

Yep I know, I generally view both sides to get a laugh and wonder if the world would be better if the extremes on both sides would just kill each other off.

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

Not necessarily, because the centrists on either side wouldn't know how to speak.  They're so conditioned not to speak against the extremists on both sides (see John McCain's prez run) that they wouldn't know what to do.

---

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" ...

"We believe in freedom as everyone else, unless you happen to be rich.  If you are rich, we'll steal your money because you don't really deserve it because of the evil of being rich."

Fixed for greater accuracy.

---

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" ...

Again, modern socialism is not communism, burn this fucking statement in your brain. Socialism is more about people and solidarity, not about stealing money from the rich to give it to the poor, everyone have to contribute according to his means. It's only natural for one to share a little of his wealth to support the society he's living in.

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

I have no problem with contributing "a little."  However, Obama is pushing a Socialist agenda.  I haven't heard anyone deny that.  Going with that, when the President says that his trillion-dollar-a-decade medical plan (that isn't going to cover a third of the people that aren't insured in this country) is going to be paid for by rich people totally negates your statement.

---

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" ...

 Go back to my post about socialism and communism.  Unless you forever want the connection to communism, change the name of the movement.  

The thing is though, you shouldn't change the name because in practice, you are doing exactly what you say you aren't.  You say it's not about the redistribution of wealth and so forth, yet some of the most socialistic countries have practically only 1 class.  Then, after saying it's not about the redistribution of wealth, you say that everyone must give to the people what they can.  You contradict yourself in the same sentence.  

It's not natural for a person to share his wealth to support the people around him if he doesn't want to.  Then it is stealing, no matter how much you fancy it up.  And if a person doesn't want to give, then you know what?  Fine.  It's his choice.  They're adults, and can make adult decisions on their own.

So, make up your mind.  is it about people and solidarity, or is it about making people give as much of their paycheck as possible for the greater good?  One implies something that isn't socialism, where as the other does.

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

I've read "Kapital" thank you.

Social classes? What the fuck, people are equal, we're all made of white bones and red blood, why do we have to make distinctions. If i follow your thoughts, soon we end up with some rich people on the top, only because they were born in rich families, and poor masses feeding them, just because their families couldn't afford schools, looks kind of familiar.

People don't wan't to pay taxes, fine, but we can't exclude those people from using tax money (water purification, ecology, public lights, justice and others), that sounds pretty unfair for me.

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

"Social classes? What the fuck, people are equal, we're all made of white bones and red blood, why do we have to make distinctions. If i follow your thoughts, soon we end up with some rich people on the top, only because they were born in rich families, and poor masses feeding them, just because their families couldn't afford schools, looks kind of familiar."


Obama seems to believe that the 'white man' is keepin his people down.  So does Sotomayor.  Oh, and Dianne Feinstein belives that we're not equal either, as does Barbara Boxer, Joe Biden, and many, many other liberals and democrats.  You see, THEY need (and deserve) armed body guards, and, in Dianne's case, the right to concealed carry a weapon.  But the average person doesn't deserve the same right to own a firearm, much less carry it.  Same with healthcare; team Obama says its great for everyone, but then they refuse to sign up for it themselves.  What that means is that they feel its 'good enough' for the lower classes.

All people are CREATED equal; it's what you do after your creation that sets you apart.

 

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

 as for the "water purification....and stuffs" that's paid for through the american income tax, which is one of the oldest standing taxes and the only one I'm in favor of.  You're getting some taxes confused.  There's the taxes the government needs to run and maintain infrastructure, and then there are the superfluous taxes for fringe "benefits."  Those are basically any social program.  With the bureaucracy in America, these are the most bloated, expensive, and wasteful programs.

And people aren't equal in the end.  In the beginning, they're all created equally.  They're all born one of 2 ways.  But the way they live their lives sets them apart.  You can't look at a person who's worked their entire life, made good decisions, and ends up easily putting their kids through college, and then look at someone who's done nothing but leech off of a social system to get by, and say they're equal.  One is clearly the better person.

And the whole "blue blood, born rich" vs the "lowly classes" argument is so cliche and outdated.  It doesn't work like that, and there are countless cases to show.  The richest man in America started off in a lower-middle class family.  Many have gone from slums to riches using nothing but their talent.  And there are plenty who have gone from riches to rags because they're allowed the freedom to fail.

As for class distinction, that came about through government.  They're the ones who decide what classes are what (as in, they draw the lines).  Either way, ignoring that term, if one person succeeds greatly in life, if he invents something great, or he manages a good corporation, or something, then he should reap the riches that come with such an achievement.  Saying "no, we're all equal, so this extra wealth you've procured is now everyone's" sounds like stealing to me.  Robin hood may sound noble, but he stole none the less.

So, do you want to steal a person's wealth simply to make it so everyone is "equal" and everything is "fair," even when one person worked for the money and another didn't, or do you instead want to keep using words like "people and solidarity."  One shows your true intentions.  One is a bunch of words your hiding behind.

 

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

I know.  God forbid someone earn more money than the people who are too lazy to find a real job or finish high school. 

Oh, and while I'm thinking about it, here's some interesting information for everyone who thinks this new health care would be so wonderful.  A republican tried to add an amendment saying that all the government officials would have to use the same plan.  Can you guess what happened to that amendment?  

It was voted down by a HUGE margin.

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

Funny...isnt it the social conservatives the ones most vocal about banning and restricting M and AO rated game (and is anti-christian or they find it offends them)?  Funny how we always hear about how great the "free market" is and should be way the US runs, except for products that offend conservatives or they just dont like.

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

 Don't know what you are talking about. I'm christian and play M games. The media just wants you to think that all conservative and religious people are nuts. A small percentage may be but for the majority of us, absolutely not true.

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

It is a small, but VERY well organized and financed group.  And the media won't even touch them since any slight against these groups is quicly painted as 'liberal media bias'.

Unfortunatly, moderate Christians in this country have little to no political voice.  And while the left is often painted as the oppresive anti-religion cult that is out to get Christians.. it is the right that is depriving them of a seat at the table.

 
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