Beyond: Two Souls Gets Censored in Europe

October 1, 2013 - James Fudge

Sony has confirmed that the European release of Quantic Dream's Beyond: Two Souls has been censored. Sony says that around 5-10 seconds of footage has been edited in the European release so that the game could get a PEGI 16 rating. Sony did not say just what exactly censors in Europe found so offensive as to have it altered to avoid a higher rating, but one would guess it relates to gratuitously violent scenes. As a general rule, having wanton violence in a game is a good way to get a PEGI 18 rating under the European ratings system...

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South Australian Attorney General Wants to Scrutinize Ratings Classification Board

September 20, 2013 - GamePolitics Staff

South Australia Attorney General John Rau recently told the Australian Broadcasting Network (ABC) that the country's new video game classification (R18+, which went into effect in January of this year) rules are not being applied properly to games and the ratings process needs further scrutiny from the country's policy makers.

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Video Standards Council Releases Annual Report on UK Video Games Ratings

July 23, 2013 -

The Video Standards Council has published its first annual report since it was designated as the UK's regulatory body for classifying video games on July 30, 2012. The report covers the last 5 months of 2012, and offers a brief history of the VSC, a description of what it does, and how it uses PEGI in the UK for all types of games.

The most interesting aspect of the new report is just how many games were classified and under what category for the UK.

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ISFE Releases Videogames in Europe: 2012 Consumer Study

December 13, 2012 -

The Interactive Software Federation of Europe (ISFE published a new report today containing detailed consumer information about gaming habits, broader media interests, online gameplay, gaming in a family context and the PEGI age rating system in Europe. The data comes from an online survey of around 15,000 respondents from 16 European countries including Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Great Britain, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.

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EA CEO Calls for Universal Ratings System

November 15, 2012 -

At a gathering of politicians and industry types this week in Washington D.C., Electronic Arts CEO John Riccitiello said that the industry needs a universal ratings system for games across all conceivable platforms and in all territories around the world. He made his comments to a gathering that included the FCC Commissioner and Chairman, according to a Polygon report.

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Microsoft: Windows 8 Store to Support PEGI 18 Rated Games

October 26, 2012 -

Microsoft has changed its position on selling games rated "18" in the UK (under the PEGI system) via the Windows 8 marketplace. Previously the platform owner had made the decision by comparing the "adult" category used by the ESRB in North America - a category reserved for games with very strong sexual content or extreme violence.

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UK Games Rating Authority Launches New Site with 'Additional Consumer Information'

October 2, 2012 -

The Games Rating Authority (GRA), part of the United Kingdom's Video Standards Council (VSC) has launched its new website today. The new site adds what the GRA calls "Additional Consumer Information" (ACI) that gives consumers the ability to search for a specific game title and learn what it was rated under a certain category. The ACI is a text-based system that is meant to supplement the PEGI visual descriptors. It offers a brief outline of the game and information about the "strength and frequency of a rating issue."

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Poll: Should Video Game Ratings Be Legally Enforced at Retail?

August 15, 2012 -

In the United States, there is no law forbidding retailers from selling an M rated game to someone under age 17 and thanks to the Supreme Court’s ruling in Brown v. EMA, that’s not likely to ever change.

But is that the way it should be?

Across the pond in the UK, retailers are legally forbid from selling PEGI 12, 16, or 18 games to kids younger than the rating indicates.  Are the Europeans doing it right?

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Super Podcast Action Committee - Episode 14

August 6, 2012 -

In episode 14 of the Super Podcast Action Committee, Andrew Eisen and E. Zachary Knight talk about the UK researcher who thinks parents should be arrested for buying their children age inappropriate games, Ubisoft's rootkit controversy, the results from last week's poll at GamePolitics about Humble Bundles, EA's lawsuit against Zynga, the death of the Cybersecurity Act in the Senate, and a whole lot more.

UK Researcher: Parents Should Be Arrested for Buying Children Age-Inappropriate Games

July 31, 2012 -

A Health Canal report details the concern of a critic of the UK's new video game ratings system saying that it will fail because it doesn't deal with "irresponsible parenting." Yesterday the new PEGI ratings system went into effect in the UK. The new system includes penalties for retailers that sell age inappropriate games to children that do not meet the ratings guidelines.

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PEGI Officially Enforceable in the UK

July 30, 2012 -

The Pan-European Game Information (PEGI) ratings system is officially in effect in the United Kingdom today, with the reins of the video game ratings bureaucracy leaving the auspices of the  BBFC. The change means that retailers in the region that sell video games rated for 12-, 16- or 18-year-olds to children below those age limits would be subject to prosecution and other legal actions. Packaging for games in the UK will now contain age ratings, and descriptors for language, drug use, discrimination, gambling, sex, violence, online gameplay, and more.

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UKIE: PEGI Could Be UK Law as Soon as July 23

June 12, 2012 -

The pan-European games ratings system (PEGI) could be legally enforceable in the United Kingdom as soon as July 23, according to UKIE. Though the date is not set in stone, the UKIE is getting the word out that the new rating system approved by Parliament last month will soon be the law of the land. And when we say law, we mean there are certain rules that will apply to retailers that can get them a hefty fine or prosecution if they are caught selling age-inappropriate games to minors.

A subsequent update from UKIE CEO Jo Twist back pedaled slightly on the July 23 date: 

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VSC Clarifies New PEGI Ratings Guidelines, Penalties for UK

May 16, 2012 -

The Video Standards Council (VSC) issued a press release today announcing details on how the PEGI ratings system will work in the United Kingdom when it replaces the current ratings system used in the region to rate video game content. The VSC said that it issued the statement today to provide "greater clarity" on how their position as the new UK regulator for video games will affect future video game regulations in the country.

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UK PEGI Ratings Bring Penalties to Careless Retailers

May 11, 2012 -

One of the things we did not note when we wrote about it earlier this week is that, with the PEGI rating system coming to the United Kingdom, there will be a change in the law that retailers will want to take note of. According to the official release from the Department for Culture Media and Sports (DCMS) the Video Standards Council (VSC) will have the right to "refuse to grant an age-rating for a video game if it includes extreme content” (which means it can’t be sold in the UK).

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Frogster to Return Blood to European TERA Players Next Week

May 10, 2012 -

You may recall last month that European players of the MMO TERA were up in arms over the fact that the game in their region had been stripped of blood. They started a petition and took to forums to complain about it with much gusto.

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UK's DCMS Appoints The Video Standards Council to Oversee PEGI Ratings

May 10, 2012 -

The Video Standards Council announced this morning that the Department for Culture Media & Sport (DCMS) has confirmed their intention to appoint the organization as the regulator for rating games in the United Kingdom using the PEGI system used for the rest of Europe. The DCMS informed the UK Parliament of their intentions today.

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PEGI Games Age Ratings in July, Says UKIE

April 26, 2012 -

The long-delayed implementation of the PEGI age rating system will be ready for prime time by July of this year in the UK, according to MCV. This news comes from UK video game industry trade group UKIE.

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Full PEGI Implementation Delays Continue

November 15, 2011 -

MCV is reporting that the introduction of the PEGI ratings system as the standard for games ratings in the United Kingdom has been delayed even further. Last week game industry trade group UKIE announced that the ratings system wouldn't be officially used by the UK until sometime in "early 2012." Today we learn that UKIE has pushed the implementation of PEGI further back to a date to yet to be determined.

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PEGI: 'Play Smart, Check the PEGI Rating!'

August 11, 2011 -

“Uh, this game has spiders?”

PEGI, the ratings organization set to take over exclusive game rating duties in Europe sometime in the coming months, uses symbols instead of text for its content descriptors.  If you don’t happen to know what they mean, they can be a little confusing.  For example, the spider icon means: “Fear – Game may be frightening or scary for young children.”

Okay, good to know.

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Report: PEGI Ratings Could Be Law by Year's End

June 15, 2011 -

The United Kingdom's Department for Culture, Media and Sport said this week that complex technical details are behind the delay of implementing PEGI age-ratings for video games in the UK. There is some doubt that the ratings system will become law this year, but the DCMS says that it is working hard on getting it done.

"We are working to put the scheme into implementation as soon as possible," a DCMS spokesperson told GamesIndustry.biz, but did not offer a revised timetable.

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey, UKIE, the Video Standards Council, and ratings body the BBFC, are said to be at a "delicate" stage in the negotiations. Sources familiar with the matter tell GameIndustry.biz that there is a general optimism that the system has a chance of becoming law "by Christmas." All involved want to sort out the details and get things right the first time, before pushing forward.

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We Dare Footage Shows PEGI Rating May Be Appropriate

March 12, 2011 -

This actual gameplay footage from We Dare, the sassy, saucy, and apparently badly marketed game from Ubisoft shows that the game is probably rated appropriately in Europe. In other words, harmless fun and not necessarily harmless "adult" fun. So if that's the case and the game is appropriate, then the blame for all the fervor over the game's content has to go to Ubisoft’s marketing department, who released a commercial making the game look like a way to get another couple to have a four-way...

Anyway, check out the video and see why We Dare is about as sexually charged as an episode of the Golden Girls.. Thanks to Andrew Eisen for the video link.

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PEGI Defends We Dare Rating, Ubisoft to Put Warning on Box

March 8, 2011 -

The Pan-European Game Information (PEGI) rating board, the organization responsible for rating games in Europe, defended its decision to rate We Dare for 12 year olds and above (PEGI 12) this week, even as Ubisoft takes extra precautionary measures to warn parents about the game's content. It's interesting because it undercuts PEGI's stance.

A statement by the ratings board (found on Cubed3D) defends the decision to rate it for such a young age group, stating that "it contains mild swearing, minor assault on a human-like character and words/activities that amount to obvious sexual innuendo, explicit sexual descriptions or images and sexual posturing."

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PEGI On We Dare's 12 Rating

March 4, 2011 -

In light of a rather racy commercial and confirmation from Ubisoft that We Dare is intended for mature audiences, many are still a bit surprised to learn that PEGI rated the game 12.

Cubed3.com sought comment from the rating board who explained:

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UKIE Releases PEGI App

December 17, 2010 -

UKIE releases a PEGI app for iPhone and iOS devices that help shoppers - especially parents - in the UK get instant access to game related ratings data.

Similar to the app released by the ESRB, the PEGI app allows consumers to browse the database of all the video games that have received a PEGI rating (+16,000 games), get detailed information about the type of content each game contains, and read reviews (if one is available).

The app was created by PEGI S.A., the same group that manages the pan-European video games ratings system. The PEGI app is free to download now at iTunes. An Android version will be released soon. Eurogamer provides the reviews.


UK Implementation of PEGI Pushed to 2011

July 16, 2010 -

MCVUK carries word from the Video Standards Council (VSC) that a mandatory shift to the Pan-European Game Information (PEGI) ratings system in the UK will not be legally enforceable until April 1, 2011.

The UK’s Digital Economy act dictated that PEGI would become the single system for rating games, replacing a current implementation that utilizes PEGI in conjunction with British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) ratings.

While the Digital Economy bill passed in April of this year, the delay was blamed on it not yet being “made effective.” A portion of a statement MCV obtained from the VFC reads:

Digital Economy Bill Passes

April 8, 2010 -

The UK’s Digital Economy Bill has been passed by the House of Commons, with MPs okaying the measure in a 189 to 47 vote.

The Bill, which also was granted Royal Assent, makes PEGI the UK’s sole rating system for videogames, introduces a variety of provisions for dealing with illegal file sharers, and debuts measures for blocking Internet access to online sites that may promote online copyright infringement.

The latter two procedures drew the ire of the Open Rights Group, whose Executive Director Jim Killock wrote, “What a debacle. Measures to allow disconnection of individuals from the internet, for undefined periods of time, web blocking laws; all with no real scrutiny and limited debate.”

VSC Ramps Up for Future, Adds Dr. Byron to Panel

January 18, 2010 -

As the UK moves to adopt the PEGI system as a sole means for rating videogames, the Video Standards Council (VSC), which will enforce and assign actual ratings, has added additional personnel to its ranks.

One new addition to the VSC is an Expert Advisory Panel reports GamesIndustry.biz, which will feature media violence expert Guy Cumberbatch, author Geoffrey Robertson and Dr. Tanya Byron (pictured), author of the Byron Report.

VSC Chair Baroness Shephard commented:

The newly established VSC Expert Advisory Panel will play a key role. The VSC will have the ability to effectively 'ban' a videogame from supply in the UK if it infringes the limits set out in the law.  Any such decision will not be taken lightly and will involve a number of legal, clinical and psychological issues.

A trio of board members was also added to the VSC, ex-Chief Constable Tony Lake, retired Director of the Family and Parenting Institute Mary MacLeod and Chris Atkinson of the National Socitey for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children.

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MPs Seek to Speed Up PEGI Introduction

January 8, 2010 -

As time winds down to the general elections, the UK government is attempting to push-through the Digital Economy Bill.

MCVUK reports that, while some aspects of the bill are still hotly contested, politicians are hoping to fast track at least some elements of the bill, including making the Pan-European Game Information PEGI ratings system enforceable by law.

Don Foster, Bath MP, stated:

Swiftness is the essence of why we are here today. It is vital that we get back on to the statute book, as quickly as possible, legislation that provides protection against the sale of inappropriate material to children and counters the ability of people to sell pirate DVDs and so on.

Shadow Culture Minister Ed Vaizey added:

The Digital Economy Bill will amend the 1984 Act and bring video games into a system of statutory classification using the European rating system known as PEGI—pan European game information. Broadly speaking, hon. Members of all parties support that. Everybody recognises that video games should be classified under a statutory system.

The Digital Economy bill recommends that PEGI become the sole method of classifying games, replacing the current structure that uses PEGI and British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) ratings. Another controversial aspect contains a three-strikes law aimed at Internet pirates.

5 comments

Age Ratings, Anti-Piracy Subject of UK Digital Economy Bill

November 18, 2009 -

A few details regarding Britain’s Digital Economy Bill were touched on this morning as part of the Queen’s Speech to Parliament, in which the monarch outlines the coming legislative agenda.

Among the forthcoming actions will be a mandatory age rating on all videogames aimed at children ages 12 and above, reports the Guardian. The Bill calls for the adoption of the Pan-European Game Information (PEGI) system as the method of classifying games in the UK, replacing the current practice of using both PEGI and British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) ratings.

The Digital Economy Bill would also tackle piracy, proposing a tough policy much like France’s three-strike Hadopi Law. Those caught committing piracy will receive a warning letter, followed by a second, more stern letter that will caution the user that “technical measures” could be implemented in order to stop them from stealing files.

Failing the second warning, a pirate would be placed on a “serious infringers list” which would allow ISPs to disconnect them from the Internet. Those about to be disconnected will have 20 days to appeal their case before an independent body. They will also be able to appeal the case if they lose, again within 20 days. The Guardian has a flow chart that illustrates the full process (PDF).

First Secretary Lord Mandelson does not expect widespread disconnections as a result of the pending legislation:

Technical measures will be a last resort and I have no expectation of mass suspensions resulting. The British government's view is that taking people's work without due payment is wrong and that, as an economy based on creativity, we cannot sit back and do nothing as this happens.

The government hopes to cut piracy by 70% before April 2011.

The Open Rights Group believes the proposed disconnect laws to be illegal, adding that “Evidence cannot show who may have infringed copyright, only what connection was used.” They urge people to contact their MP to oppose “these draconian proposals.”

The Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers Association (ELSPA) applauded the outline of the Bill, stating:

ELSPA believes the proposed UK adoption of the Pan-European Games Information (PEGI) classification system to be an important step in ensuring child safety when gaming. The video games industry offers its full support to the Government in this.

On the other side of the fence, while noting that the Digital Britain report was announced with “grand ambition,” the Guardian calls the Digital Economy Bill “more plumbing than poetry, in many places little more than a series of disconnected tweaks to existing legislation.”

6 comments

Game Critic Keith Vaz Supports PEGI Ratings, Says ELSPA Head

July 24, 2009 -

Labour MP Keith Vaz (left), a longstanding critic of the video game industry, is apparently lending his support to the use of PEGI as the UK's sole rating system.

At least, that's the word from ELSPA. A press release issued today by the UK game publishers group reports on a "quick meeting" between ELSPA boss Michael Rawlinson and Vaz:

London, United Kingdom – 24 July, 2009: ELSPA’s Director General, Michael Rawlinson, met with Keith Vaz MP this week. During the meeting the Home Affairs Select Committee Chairman made it clear he supports the single rating system being introduced for videogames and also commended the improvements to PEGI.
 
“We had a quick meeting with Mr Vaz and he made it apparent that he believes it is important to have a single, rather than a confusing dual, rating system in the UK,” said Michael Rawlinson. “Mr Vaz added that he was keen to see the changes being made to the PEGI system and acknowledged the UK games industry’s commitment to an advertising and education campaign around the new age symbols and content descriptors when they are introduced to further protect players.”

"Quick meeting" leaves a lot to the imagination: Hallway? Elevator? Men's room? We've asked ELSPA for clarification and whether we can expect any type of announcement in which Vaz states his position for himself.

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Papa MidnightWith GTA5 (to date) failing to even provide indication of a PC release, I'm realising that this might be the first GTA game that I have not played (outside of Chinatown Wars) since the series inception.04/19/2014 - 8:14am
IanCSo im guessing a bunch of edutainment games, which a lot of people elsewhere are going gaga over, dot count as classics? Okay. If you don't mind me, i have a sudden urge to play Putt Putt....04/19/2014 - 6:15am
MaskedPixelantehttp://www.joystiq.com/2014/04/18/playstation-99-cent-sale-discounts-tokyo-jungle-super-stardust/ Weekend long PSN flash sale. So much stuff is 99 cents for the rest of the weekend.04/18/2014 - 5:59pm
Adam802http://www.polygon.com/2014/4/18/5627928/newtown-video-game-addiction-forum04/18/2014 - 4:14pm
Matthew Wilsonit is a video talking about why certain games/products/consoles do well, and others do not. he back it up with solid research.04/18/2014 - 3:56pm
Andrew EisenI'm not keen on blind links. What is it?04/18/2014 - 3:45pm
Matthew Wilsonthis is worth a whatch https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MyXcr6sDRtw&list=PL35FE5C4B157509C904/18/2014 - 3:43pm
MaskedPixelanteNumber 3: Night Dive was brought to the attention of the public by a massive game recovery, and yet most of their released catalogue consists of games that other people did the hard work of getting re-released.04/17/2014 - 8:46pm
MaskedPixelanteNumber 2: If Humongous Entertainment wanted their stuff on Steam, why didn't they talk to their parent company, which does have a number of games published on Steam?04/17/2014 - 8:45pm
MaskedPixelanteNumber 1: When Night Dive spent the better part of a year teasing the return of true classics, having their big content dump be edutainment is kind of a kick in the stomach.04/17/2014 - 8:44pm
Matthew Wilsonhttp://www.giantbomb.com/articles/jeff-gerstmann-heads-to-new-york-takes-questions/1100-4900/ He talks about the future games press and the games industry. It is worth your time even though it is a bit long, and stay for the QA. There are some good QA04/17/2014 - 5:28pm
IanCErm so they shouldn't sell edutainment at all? Why?04/17/2014 - 4:42pm
MaskedPixelanteNot that linkable, go onto Steam and there's stuff like Pajama Sam on the front-page, courtesy of Night Dive.04/17/2014 - 4:13pm
Andrew EisenOkay, again, please, please, PLEASE get in a habit of linking to whatever you're talking about.04/17/2014 - 4:05pm
MaskedPixelanteAnother round of Night Dive teasing and promising turns out to be stupid edutainment games. Thanks for wasting all our time, guys. See you never.04/17/2014 - 3:44pm
Matthew WilsonAgain the consequences were not only foreseeable, but very likely. anyone who understood supply demand curvs knew that was going to happen. SF has been a econ/trade hub for the last hundred years.04/17/2014 - 2:45pm
Andrew EisenMixedPixelante - Would you like to expand on that?04/17/2014 - 2:43pm
MaskedPixelanteWell, I am officially done with Night Dive Studios. Unless they can bring something worthwhile back, I'm never buying another game from them.04/17/2014 - 2:29pm
PHX Corphttp://www.msnbc.com/ronan-farrow/watch/video-games-continue-to-break-the-mold-229561923638 Ronan Farrow Daily on Video games breaking the mold04/17/2014 - 2:13pm
NeenekoAh yes, because by building something nice they were just asking for people to come push them out. Consequences are protested all the time when other people are implementing them.04/17/2014 - 2:06pm
 

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