UK Game Raters: What They Earn, What They Do

May 15, 2008 -

Among gamers, the British Board of Film Classification is best known for issuing a controversial ban on Manhunt 2 last summer.

In the wake of the Byron Review, however, the organization's game rating future is up in the air as the UK video game industry has expressed a preference for using the PEGI rating system. With that backdrop, Spong takes a look at the BBFC and how games get rated there. Press officer Sue Clark told Spong:

[Examiners] have to be good at playing games. There are no 'formal' qualifications... but you do have to have a good level of education and a good grasp of English as you are required to produce well argued written reports... Most games are played by at least two examiners and if necessary several may play the game.

Clark said that the average BBFC examiner is in his or her mid-thirties. Of the 32 employed, 19 are men and 13 are women. They are well-paid, earning from  £33.950 to £45,758 [US $66,036 - $89,003].

You also have to have an interest in film because games examiners don't just classify games. It also helps if you have an understanding of child development because the majority of the works classified are for people under the age of 18.


Comments

replay

Well we have an elite here in my opinion. a very accurate track editor and extreme speeds. but if they are making a gsurfers 2, make a ship maker! :) still 5/5 from Game-Rater

Wow

They get paid that much? I wonder how much an ESRB rater gets paid.

Oh sure, when a monkey does it, that's fine. But whenever I throw barrels at an Italian plumber, then its a hate crime! - Stephen Colbert

Paid to Play

A friend of mine is a part-time examiner with the BBFC. He's in his 30s and has always been a gamer, but has also had a career in the law and media. He was involved in the rating of Gears of War and many other gamesas well as films. Watching porn for a living isn't as glamerous as you might think.

They are all pretty experienced people who have varied media interests. I'm pretty happy that they do a good job within the contrainsts in which they work.




Wow!

These guys make a lot of money for playing games. What I wouldn't give to have that job.

The BBFC (human) system is

The BBFC (human) system is far better than the PEGI box ticking approach. A human can weigh up the cumulative effect of events in a game where as PEGI relies on which boxes have been ticked by the games own publisher.


Re: The BBFC (human) system is

Actually a human assessment without some level of box ticking quantitation could easily be more subjective. I'd prefer a hybrid myself, the BBFC seem to go part way there with swear words but don't give much detail on how the rest of the content is assessed. There must be guidelines describing what levels of violence/sex fit in which rating, it can't be as free form as this interview would suggest.

Gift.

You are probably right, but

You are probably right, but this kind of system is just begging to be abused by biased people with ulterior agendas.


---- There is a limit for both politicians against video games, and video games against politicians.

...Spong?

I'll grant that it's been years since my days at the GameFAQs forums, but...isn't Spong notoriously unreliable?

Subjective ratings *might* be better

I am sure they have guidelines, but I am sceptical that completely objective standards would accomplish anything useful.  Where a 1.5-3 hour movie might succumb to objective age-ratings (such as, a certain quota of swear words, certain types of nudity, or a certain level of gore), a game that is designed for 50-100 hours or more of play might have deeper hard-to-quantify issues.  Such as, are moral decisions handled well?  If the player wants to choose a path of evil, does the game allow/condone/encourage/discourage it?


I think, for example, a game that is morally grey, rather than black and white, would be more suited to a mature audience.

In any case, movie-type ratings cannot directly translate into game ratings, and anyone that doesn't play and enjoy games should not be rating them.

No real guideline?

Wouldn't it be better to have a guideline as to what is and isn't appropriate for certain age groups (on a classification front?) I mean, if you end up with people making an opinion instead of basing it against a checklist, you end up with a bit (or in the worst case scenario, a lot) of bias in terms of the person's personal values.


The system is "fail" on the count that now, you have developers having to scratch their heads and wonder "Who's gonna review my game over there today?"
 
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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
Matthew Wilsonok than they should not protest when the consequences of that choice occur.04/17/2014 - 1:06pm
NeenekoIf people want tall buildings, plenty of other cities with them. Part of freedom and markets is communities deciding what they do and do not want built in their collective space.04/17/2014 - 12:55pm
Sora-ChanI realize that they have ways getting around it, but one reason might be due to earthquakes.04/17/2014 - 4:42am
Matthew WilsonSF is a tech/ economic/ trade center it should be mostly tail building. this whole problem is because of the lack of tail buildings. How would having tail apartment buildings destroy SF? having tail buildings has not runed other cities around the US/world04/16/2014 - 10:51pm
Matthew WilsonAgain the issue is you can not build upwards anywhere in SF at the moment, and no you would not. You would bring prices to where they should have been before the market distortion. those prices are not economic or socially healthy.04/16/2014 - 10:46pm
ZippyDSMleeYou still wind up pushing people out of the non high rise aeras but tis least damage you can do all things considered.04/16/2014 - 10:26pm
ZippyDSMleeANd by mindlessly building upward you make it like every place else hurting property prices,ect,ect. You'll have to slowly segment the region into aeras where you will never build upward then alow some aeras to build upward.04/16/2014 - 10:25pm
 

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