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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ZippyDSMleehttp://gamepolitics.com/2015/01/30/pewdiepie-and-other-youtube-stars-criticize-nintendos-new-revenue-sharing-program#comment-29809502/01/2015 - 7:11pm
ZippyDSMleeASked a question, that might not be incoherant and useless.02/01/2015 - 7:11pm
Andrew Eisen"Let me sink my claws into your flesh to prove my love!"02/01/2015 - 5:49pm
Goth_SkunkAs for her hindclaws, I'm incredibly blessed: She trims those herself. It's amazing!02/01/2015 - 5:47pm
Goth_SkunkThankfully she's not scratching anywhere she isn't supposed to, but when she climbs up into my lap and kneads at my stomach or arm, I prefer dull claws to the pinpricks she had today.02/01/2015 - 5:47pm
Andrew EisenSure, sure. If she's scratching things she's not supposed to, trimming is a better solution than declawing. Hard for them to groom with no claws.02/01/2015 - 5:41pm
Goth_SkunkShe does, but those items don't do a thing to keep claws dull. In fact, they help sharpen them. Cats are going to scratch. It's instinctive. Even if they've been declawed, they'll still execute the behaviour on a surface pleasant to them.02/01/2015 - 5:36pm
Andrew EisenAn indoor cat I'm guessing. Does she not like to use scratching posts or things of that sort?02/01/2015 - 5:28pm
Goth_SkunkOff-Topic Sunday: I hate trimming my cats front claws. Not because she makes it more trouble by fidgeting, she's actually well behaved. I'm just anxious as hell that I'll trim too deep and cut into the quik. :(02/01/2015 - 5:27pm
WonderkarpMonte : Its kind of hard to ignore that commentary when companies you patron invite the commentators into their halls to "Better Themselves".02/01/2015 - 4:33pm
CultofZoidbergWhen are they going to release Brigandine Legend of Forsena on Steam, i don't trust Torrent, and a used copy is about 80 dollars02/01/2015 - 3:23pm
prh99MechaTama: I don't know his motive for asking, he could be just trying to cause trouble. If not he waited too long and in either case should just give up.02/01/2015 - 1:39pm
MonteIf you don't like someone's commentary; simply ignore them. Do not give them ANY kind of attention; even negative attention gives them traffic. If they're wrong and their opinions cant stand on their own merits, they will simply fade away into obscurity.02/01/2015 - 1:17pm
IanCBut of course no one on the GG side has been harassed. Nope. None at all. BS. Both sides are acting like children. No, I take that back, CHILDREN are better behaved.02/01/2015 - 12:25pm
MechaTama31Of course, that advice is only really useful if you are one of the harassers...02/01/2015 - 11:50am
prh99Maybe it's time to rethink your strategy if your enemy doesn't have to make stuff up.02/01/2015 - 5:01am
prh99Also if you don't like someone, harassment and scandals will only get them more attention. Zoe Quinn would probably not be as well known if not for various harassers.02/01/2015 - 5:00am
prh99Personally, I just clicked the three vertical dots the first YouTube recommended one, haven't seen one since. Too bad I can't get rid of Pewdiepie video recommendations that easily.02/01/2015 - 3:19am
prh99Just don't watch the videos, who cares what she does or doesn't do. If her audience likes it so be, if they think she's doing something she shouldn't they'll stop watching.02/01/2015 - 3:14am
WonderkarpAndrew Yoon Died http://www.gamerevolution.com/news/rip-andrew-yoon-3096901/31/2015 - 10:26pm
 

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