PEGI vs. BBFC - Fight! ...Now with Bonus Paranoia

September 24, 2008 -

As GamePolitics readers know, the British video game industry has been lobbying forcefully to have the government declare content ratings the exclusive province of the PEGI system.

But, as gamesindustry.biz reports, ratings rival BBFC was quick to fire back to a recent attack launched by U.K. publishers group ELSPA, pointing out that both a government committee as well as Dr. Tanya Byron support the BBFC. From a statement issued by the group:

The BBFC rejects ELSPA's claims. They should be judged against the fact that both the Byron Review and the House of Commons CMS Committee have recommended a greater role for the BBFC in games classification. The BBFC's case will be developed in its response to the current government consultation.

As to the paranoia promised in this article's headline? Kotaku reports that a public relations firm representing PEGI agreed to answer its questions about the dust-up, but with the implication that it would do so only if Kotaku agreed to support PEGI beforehand and provided its transcript of a similar interview with the BBFC. From the P.R. firm's letter:

Is there any way that we could have confirmation from Kotaku’s editor that he supports PEGI – that way it might ease the way to getting an interview set up. Also, can you find out to me how many unique hits Kotaku gets in the UK. The reason is ELSPA may come back and say Kotaku is just US based. The fact that Kotaku is a US blog might make things tough – just trying to help set this up...

 

Also if you could provide the transcript for the BBFC interview that’d be useful.


Comments

Re: PEGI vs. BBFC - Fight! ...Now with Bonus Paranoia

TBoneTony:

I would like to say that all this fighting with the BBFC and PEGI should just stop.

And please, no government interferance over this too.

If you guys accturely READ the Byron Review, she says that she recomends the BBFC & PEGI to just WORK TOGETHER on rating Videogames instead of this infighting.

Also even though Byron says that there are certain games that should be banned, I am sure that she was talking about the Pronagraphic games that are NEVER avaliable on the consoles...

that is what I am getting at.

But yeah, all this fear was caused by the Politicians wanting to ban games and the BBFC just happened to be caught in the middle of it all because they tried to Ban Manhunt 2.

I am sure that they have learned their lessons that you just can't ban a game on the basis on the story or if it is harmful for children but it should just be a case that an 18 rating is needed for some games but should still be sold.

ALSO, I feel that the real issue of the Byron Review is what everyone is forgetting, even us Gamers and the Politicians.

the real problem is that the BBFC and the PEGI are only known to Gamers and not the real people who are meant to know about it, the parents and the guardians who buy videogames for their kids.

No wonder some of them have trouble understanding the videogame ratings, it is because there has been no one telling them what they mean and all the information is on the internet but no one, not even the politicians, the new papers and the TV news media ever tell the parents about the Videogame ratings.

THAT IS THE REAL PROBLEM!!!!

Why fight over the BBFC and the PEGI when Tanya Byron outlined that the real problem is the FEAR of Violent Videogames and how that FEAR takes away the real message that young people, like us gamers when we first started out playing Videogames ARE the participants of a wide virtual world where we are able to take risks that we would otherwise not do in the real life.

Also this all occoured to me when the Politicians were saying that they support the BBFC all because that is what people know, but if you READ the Byron Review, she says that the real problem is that people like the parents DON'T really understand the BBFC ratings at all.

NOW THAT IS THE REAL PROBLEM WE SHOULD BE FOCUSING ON, NOT THE BBFC Vs PEGI debate.

TBoneTony

Re: PEGI vs. BBFC - Fight! ...Now with Bonus Paranoia

TBoneTony:

I would like to say that all this fighting with the BBFC and PEGI should just stop. And please, no government interferance over this too. If you guys accturely READ the Byron Review, she says that she recomends the BBFC & PEGI to just WORK TOGETHER on rating Videogames instead of this infighting. Also even though Byron says that there are certain games that should be banned, I am sure that she was talking about the Pronagraphic games that are NEVER avaliable on the consoles... that is what I am getting at. But yeah, all this fear was caused by the Politicians wanting to ban games and the BBFC just happened to be caught in the middle of it all because they tried to Ban Manhunt 2. I am sure that they have learned their lessons that you just can't ban a game on the basis on the story or if it is harmful for children but it should just be a case that an 18 rating is needed for some games but should still be sold. ALSO, I feel that the real issue of the Byron Review is what everyone is forgetting, even us Gamers and the Politicians. the real problem is that the BBFC and the PEGI are only known to Gamers and not the real people who are meant to know about it, the parents and the guardians who buy videogames for their kids. No wonder some of them have trouble understanding the videogame ratings, it is because there has been no one telling them what they mean and all the information is on the internet but no one, not even the politicians, the new papers and the TV news media ever tell the parents about the Videogame ratings. THAT IS THE REAL PROBLEM!!!! Why fight over the BBFC and the PEGI when Tanya Byron outlined that the real problem is the FEAR of Violent Videogames and how that FEAR takes away the real message that young people, like us gamers when we first started out playing Videogames ARE the participants of a wide virtual world where we are able to take risks that we would otherwise not do in the real life.

TBoneTony

Re: PEGI vs. BBFC - Fight! ...Now with Bonus Paranoia

Just to point out that the Byron report was a Government report, so suggesting that Government not interfere over it is moot.  Ultimately, the UK Government has to decide who they want to have in charge.  At that point though, they will leave they to do their jobs independantly and should that ever NOT be the case, I will be the first to agree with those who cry foul.

Re: PEGI vs. BBFC - Fight! ...Now with Bonus Paranoia

Exactly, the UK Parliament required a, now, large section of games to go through some form of classification process in 1984. The debate whether Govt should interfere was over then.

The only debate now is the extent of the State's interference and who should exercise that form of control. As there is no European, i.e. EU, regulation in this area State backed schemes are always going to be set on a State by State basis. I don't see Germany, or France, giving up media regulation to an outside body; nor do I see the UK doing so.

PEGI seem to be loosing the argument at the moment. Tubthumping in the games media isn't exactly the best way to got the Govt to propose the scheme they favour.

Re: PEGI vs. BBFC - Fight! ...Now with Bonus Paranoia

PEGI has been adopted by the French, although it is not legally enforcable.

EDIT: It's also worth mentioning that this isn't 'tubthumping in the games media'- the original ELSPA quote that sparked this specific news story was taken from an ELSPA presentation to the Labour party at the party's own event.

/b

Re: PEGI vs. BBFC - Fight! ...Now with Bonus Paranoia

You know what the funny thing is, this is the first time PEGI themselves have spoke out on this matter and what do they say? "We won't speak to you unless your on our side so that ELSPA don't get mad." 

This highlights one of the issues I have with PEGI, they don't have enough independance from the industry. Why should a pan-european body kowtowing to ELSPA?

Re: PEGI vs. BBFC - Fight! ...Now with Bonus Paranoia

Because in the discussion taking place, ELSPA are PEGI's representative and are having to speak for them in the debate- a united front between PEGI and their representative, be they ELSPA, the government, or the Alliance Of Bin Men is, for now, what is required.
Besides, the only thing the BBFC, (which, I remind you, is run by the film industry, as the BBFC's own website admits) ever say is "Well, the government's going to pick us anyway, so shut up". How is that better?

/b

Re: PEGI vs. BBFC - Fight! ...Now with Bonus Paranoia

The BBFC run by the film industry? Are you high?  The follwing can be found on their website (emphasis mine).

"The British Board of Film Classification is an independent, non-governmental body, which has exercised responsibilities over cinema since 1913, and over video since 1985."

"The official website of the British Board of Film Classification, the independent regulator of the film and video industry in the UK."

"The British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) is an independent, non-governmental body funded through the fees it charges to those who submit films, videos, DVDs and video games for classification."

"The Board is not organised for profit, and its fees are adjusted only as required to cover its costs. Its financial affairs are administered by the Council of Management, made up of leading figures from the manufacturing and servicing sections of the film industry. Producers, distributors and exhibitors, it was thought, would be tempted to influence decisions, while manufacturers of equipment only care that the industry continues to thrive, and remains acceptable to the public."

Re: PEGI vs. BBFC - Fight! ...Now with Bonus Paranoia

Yesh, much as I hate this argument running on I have to take issue with the use of "independent" to describe the BBFC. It is funded by the film industry, and this does appear to influence their decisions. They this was certainly the impression I got when they defended the last Batman film ratings:

"She [MS. Clarke BBFC] added that a 15 certificate would have denied an important part of the superhero's fan base the chance to see the film."

"Younger teenagers would not have been able to see it, and they are the very people who are going to love it."

So it would seem that provided the industry targets a film at a younger demographic, the BBFC are willing to rate it more leniently regardless of content. Perhaps, that is as good as it'll ever get but independent is too strong a word.

Gift.

Re: PEGI vs. BBFC - Fight! ...Now with Bonus Paranoia

The BBFC is not funded by the film industry - it draws its funds by charging for the classifications is gives, as you can easily find on the BBFC website. In that sense, its is funded by the film, video and game insdustries, I suppose.


-- teh moominz --

Re: PEGI vs. BBFC - Fight! ...Now with Bonus Paranoia

That's exactly my point. It's also why I expect the BBFC to soften up over time when it comes to rating games. I expect they'll cosy up eventually, after all it's hard to keep on biting the hand which feeds; as PEGI fades into memory relations betwixt regulator and gaming industry will normalise.

Gift.

Re: PEGI vs. BBFC - Fight! ...Now with Bonus Paranoia

That's exactly my point. It's also why I expect the BBFC to soften up over time when it comes to rating games. I expect they'll cosy up eventually, after all it's hard to keep on biting the hand which feeds; as PEGI fades into memory relations betwixt regulator and gaming industry will normalise.

By law the companies have to have their content rated by the BBFC. It is essentially a tax that all the companies have to pay. They could of course refuse to release the product in the country but then again no one would do that as they would lose a big market for the sake of a couple thousand pounds. So the BBFC does not have to worry about income as by law they would always get it.

Re: PEGI vs. BBFC - Fight! ...Now with Bonus Paranoia

And yet they can and do bend to the film industry's will. Batman and the 12A cert in general are a case in point, the public are begining to notice the expanding grey-rating 12A represents.

Anyway, while I doubt the BBFC worry over much, they must be aware that councils can override their certifications. That being the case, certification isn't an entirely compulsory affair; non-payment may not always mean no showing (and re-certification would still undermine the BBFC's authority). Moreover, if the BBFC was overly truculent the industry would complain to the government... and who do you suppose has the greater lobbying power?

No, I think the BBFC knows which side its bread is buttered on, and sensibly doesn't try to over play its hand when it comes to films. It's inevitable really given the BBFC's intimate links with the industry it "taxes".

Gift.

Addendum, e.g. politicians can and do threaten to take certification away.

Re: PEGI vs. BBFC - Fight! ...Now with Bonus Paranoia

Emphasis mine:

"The Board is not organised for profit, and its fees are adjusted only as required to cover its costs. Its financial affairs are administered by the Council of Management, made up of leading figures from the manufacturing and servicing sections of the film industry.

Incidentally, a group of people who remain suspiciously unnamed.

Producers, distributors and exhibitors, it was thought, would be tempted to influence decisions, while manufacturers of equipment only care that the industry continues to thrive, and remains acceptable to the public."

This is an incredibly naive way of thinking. Firstly, to "only care that the industry continues to thrive" gives them the same objectives- and therefore the same conflict of interest- as the producers, distributors and exhibitors. Secondly, who are the equipment manufacturers' customers, the very people their survival depends on? Oh yeah, the producers, distributors and exhibitors.

Although, to be fair, it's not like there are any producers who have manufacturing arms. I spent all the duration of Sony Pictures' "Spiderman 3", which was shot using Sony cameras, on Sony's Blu-Ray format on my Sony PlayStation3, which was plugged into my Sony Bravia TV and just couldn't think of one.

/b

Re: PEGI vs. BBFC - Fight! ...Now with Bonus Paranoia

Seeing as you are just picking and choosing allow me to point out one other little flaw in your consipracy theory

"The Council has no involvement in policy development."

Re: PEGI vs. BBFC - Fight! ...Now with Bonus Paranoia

Compared to your conspiracy theory that the games industry control the day-to-day workings of PEGI?

While the council has no direct involvement in policy development, they do get to pick the people who make the policies:

From the BBFC's own site again:

"I am very pleased to be taking over as Chairman of the BBFC’s Council of Management. [...]

"One of my first duties will be to lead the Council in appointing a new President to take over from Andreas Whittam Smith."

http://www.bbfc.co.uk/news/press/20020409.html

(Yes, that's an old link, but it illustrates how the system works)

What does the president do? From the BBFC's own site:

"Designated with statutory responsibility for classification of video.

"The President and Vice Presidents are consulted in the case of works that raise particular questions of policy."

 

http://www.bbfc.co.uk/structure/structure03.php

Upset the film industry? Bye bye, job as president of the BBFC.

/b

Re: PEGI vs. BBFC - Fight! ...Now with Bonus Paranoia

Do you have any historical examples to back up that last claim?


-- teh moominz --

Re: PEGI vs. BBFC - Fight! ...Now with Bonus Paranoia

I have a handful of examples of changes in policy which could very easily have been due to industry pressure.

/b

Re: PEGI vs. BBFC - Fight! ...Now with Bonus Paranoia

You've just pressed my "intruiged" button - care to share them?


-- teh moominz --

Re: PEGI vs. BBFC - Fight! ...Now with Bonus Paranoia

The mere existance of the 12 rating is down to industry pressure, as is the 12A.

...two's a handful. *waits for inevitable comment about talking balls*

/b

Re: PEGI vs. BBFC - Fight! ...Now with Bonus Paranoia

The creation of the 12 rating and 12A rating was mainly due to public pressure. 12A was created after parents criticised the fact that they couldn't take their young children to see Spiderman. Even with the part the film industry potentially played in gaining the 12 certificate, the same could be said of the creation of the PG-13 rating in the US. The same could also be said of the shift from 3+, 11+, 15+, 18+ ELSPA ratings to the 3+, 7+, 12+, 16+, 18+ PEGI ratings. Although it shows the wiliness of the BBFC to adapt, and since the creation of PEGI there haven't been any movements by the organisation to rethink (what many consider to be confusing) certification logos.

You keep criticising the fact that the BBFC is not fully independent of the film industry, but that independence is at a much higher level than PEGI is of the games industry, but still the BBFC's independence from the film industry has nothing to do with the fact that it is independent of the games industry, which is what we are talking about. One of the most important factors with the BBFC is that it is publicly accountable, which seems to be what PEGI is desperate not to be, otherwise it wouldn't be criticising the current model so much at the moment. It now appears that they refuse to do interviews unless they will get support from it, whilst the BBFC seems quite transparent and remembers that it is there to serve the public. PEGI is there to serve the public but it seems now it will only answer questions when it is in its own interest to do so, that is not public accountability.

With regard to the AO rating in the US, it is widely regarded that it is as close to banning as you can possibly get without having to face the calls of censorship. An AO rating means Sony, Microsoft or Nintendo will not allow the game to be sold on their systems, many shops will not sell the games. The AO rating was seen as and still is as the pornography rating. The ERSB know full well the impact that the AO will have on games. Your criticism that the BBFC badly handled Manhunt 2 pales somewhat in my opinion with how the ERSB handled Hot Coffee.

Re: PEGI vs. BBFC - Fight! ...Now with Bonus Paranoia

B'ah wrong reply.

Re: PEGI vs. BBFC - Fight! ...Now with Bonus Paranoia

PEGI agreed to answer its questions about the dust-up, but with the implication that it would do so only if Kotaku agreed to support PEGI beforehand and provided its transcript of a similar interview with the BBFC.

I'd never agree to those terms. Ever. Might as well be asking me to tattoo their logo onto my face and pitch softballs to them the whole interview. Screw that.

Re: PEGI vs. BBFC - Fight! ...Now with Bonus Paranoia

PEGI are really loosing this lobbying engagement. At every turn they are coming across as more shrill and defensive. The BBFC keep steping up an explaining ther position in a quiet and resonabble fashion. PEGI keep making wild and unsubstatiated claims and fail to enagge in the debate.

Unless they really improve their game I can't see the UK Govt taking any steps to give them any power at all. I've already heard that while the BBFC were originally willing to work with the PEGI system they are now considering that position as they are unsure that they can work with them because of all the disinformation and mudslinging coming from PEGI.

Re: PEGI vs. BBFC - Fight! ...Now with Bonus Paranoia

I believe that the Byron report came to the conclusion that there was too much confusion surrounding the PEGI rating system whereas the BBFC system is a firmly established film certification system which makes for easier recognition of certificates by the public.

It is sad that PEGI are going about this whole situation in an underhand way and it further dents their credibility. The BBFC have been quite transparent with their rating process, and have not got into mudslinging fights, they look rather professional when compared to the way PEGI have acted, and quite frankly if this is the way PEGI acts how can I trust them to rate games effectively?

Re: PEGI vs. BBFC - Fight! ...Now with Bonus Paranoia

The BBFC's comments to ELSPA on the issue so far have been nothing more than "The goverment is clearly going to pick us, so shut up." How is that any more professional than ELSPA/PEGI who are actually defending their corner, pointing out their opponent's flaws and showing how they would be better?

/b

Re: PEGI vs. BBFC - Fight! ...Now with Bonus Paranoia

Because all PEGI's retorts thus far are baseless misinterpretations of reality - not once have they had a debate over methodology, which is where the crux of the issue lies. The rest is mudslinging, plain and simple.

-- teh moominz --

Re: PEGI vs. BBFC - Fight! ...Now with Bonus Paranoia

Manipulation of the press rather than allowing for freedom of the press is a good start...

Re: PEGI vs. BBFC - Fight! ...Now with Bonus Paranoia

Isn't the BBFC the top dog in Britain right now as far as game ratings go?  And didn't the Byron report recommend a combination of the two systems?  So how exactly did they get "Byron report says the BBFC should play a greater role"?

Re: PEGI vs. BBFC - Fight! ...Now with Bonus Paranoia

BBFC is the *ONLY* dog.  PEGI ratings are only applicable to games below 15 rating.  12 and under categories are not required to display a BBFC rating by law so can choose PEGI instead.

You're quite right though - assuming I have read correctly - the Byron report suggest the BBFC continue with 15 and 18 games and PEGI cover 12 and under games covered BY LAW rather than voluntary.  Given that this pretty much happens anyhow, you can see why the games industry welcomed the Byron reports outcome.

Re: PEGI vs. BBFC - Fight! ...Now with Bonus Paranoia

Not quite true, but not 100% off.

The games industry currently only has to go to the BBFC if the game contains extreme violence or sexual content- basically stuff that'll get you an 18 rating- but as that's really a judgement call, you get a lot of games falling short of an 18 and only getting a 15.

Basically, provision for a threshold set at a specific rating for the BBFC for games isn't written into law.

To that extent, it's legal to sell PEGI 16+ games in the UK, as demonstrated by Lost Planet, No More Heroes and the regular edition of CoD 4.

As for the Byron Review, it recommended that the BBFC take on 12-rated games as well, leaving only 3+ and 7+ to PEGI.

/b

Re: PEGI vs. BBFC - Fight! ...Now with Bonus Paranoia

^ This ^

Beemoh has it prety much spot on here.

Re: PEGI vs. BBFC - Fight! ...Now with Bonus Paranoia

TBoneTony:

Yeah, I read that too in the Byron Review

But sadly when I read the Government's Byron Action Plan, there is nothing about the PEGI and the BBFC working together on it, not even anything that goes to Advertising BOTH the PEGI and the BBFC ratings on TV.

The sad thing is, the UK Government is focusing on just the BBFC and not the PEGI, as soon as the Government interfeared that is when the real mess started.

If I was in government or within the industry, I will be trying to call for calm and read the WHOLE Byron Review, including on the part where Byron says that the real problem is the FEAR of Videogames that is the real problem and how that FEAR makes people forget that kids just like when we were young are not victims, instead we are participants in this Virtual World.

But it seems that everyone has forgotten about that.

TBoneTony

Re: PEGI vs. BBFC - Fight! ...Now with Bonus Paranoia

We  the government hasn't done a whole lot since the report was made and I don't imagine, even with the Daily Mail readership thinking that anything that wasn't around in the 1960's is evil, that they will make any stark changes.  As is well documented on this site, I am in favour of the BBFC due to it's record and methodology.  The real question is 'can the BBFC expand quickly enough to cope with playing all games submitted without PEGI for help with lower rated games?'  BBFC believe they can, so I guess we shall see in time how it plays out.  There is always a chance this gets swept under the carpet again now that the report hasn't found gaming to be the next big evil.

Re: PEGI vs. BBFC - Fight! ...Now with Bonus Paranoia

This is what they're doing- everything the British government does happens at a positively glacial rate.

Besides, they also have to put on a show of pretending that they're not just going to hand it straight over to the BBFC. :)

/b

Re: PEGI vs. BBFC - Fight! ...Now with Bonus Paranoia

Your ignorance should not be an excuse for your callous disregard of the facts.  Nor should your political bias or hatred of the current government be substituted for what the government actually does.

Re: PEGI vs. BBFC - Fight! ...Now with Bonus Paranoia

I'm going to ignore your general abuse in that post, but: the governenment is doing things- this isn't going to "get swpt under the carpet".

The British Government, regardless of party, tend to take forever to do things because things take forever to do- most major changes they make are subject to consultation periods with interested parties- we have had a public consulation since the release of the report, and now we are into the corporate consultation where the government discuss the issue with the interested parties- retail, the industry, the ratings boards- which is why ELSPA made the comment they did which lead to this news story.

On the one hand it's a bad thing- too much talking and not enough action- and on the other it's a good thing- just being thorough. Right now I genuinely believe we're in the latter.

This all hinges, mind, on it not being a foregone conclusion- and considering comments made by the BBFC, I wouldn't be surprised if it was...

/b

Re: PEGI vs. BBFC - Fight! ...Now with Bonus Paranoia

Seems the gamers over on the other side of the pond prefer BBFC based on the comments I've read here and other gaming websites.  Most of the people who are aganist this move are from the US.  I use to be aganist it but that was because I believed some of the misconceptions about the BBFC, like thinking it was a government body.  It's independent technically though they needed to be licensed by the government to do their work.  As I havn't grown up/lived in the UK I'm not exactly sure how that relationship works.

From how I understand it in terms of games being banned, if a game is banned it can be contested in court like with Manhunt 2.  Personally I wouldn't be happy with the courts being possibly tied up with such issues but ain't my country so I'll defer to a Brit's opinion on the matter.

Just wondering though, wouldn't it make more sense to create an organization like the ESRB to deal with and only with video games on the matter?  Like the British Board of Gaming Classification instead?  Just a thought.

 

Tea and cake or death! Tea and cake or death! Little Red Cook-book! Little Red Cook-book!

Tea and cake or death! Tea and cake or death! Little Red Cook-book! Little Red Cook-book!

Re: PEGI vs. BBFC - Fight! ...Now with Bonus Paranoia

>It's independent technically though they needed to be licensed by the government to do their work. As I havn't grown up/lived in the UK I'm not exactly sure how that relationship works

The Video Recording Act of 1984, the law which gives the BBFC its power, states that a body chosen by the a relevant government department gets to pick the ratings.

As it is, the government generally sticks by the BBFC, but they're able to throw them out at any time and replace them with anyone else.

TBH, if we can't have PEGI, then I'd rather have a BBGC like you suggest, so long as it was demonstrably seperate from the BBFC.

/b

Re: PEGI vs. BBFC - Fight! ...Now with Bonus Paranoia

Why would it need to be seperate from the the BBFC? IMHO as it stands the BBFC is doing a fine job, what is there to gain from it being a separate entity? 

Re: PEGI vs. BBFC - Fight! ...Now with Bonus Paranoia

1/ The BBFC's treatment of Carmageddon and Manhunt 2 (especially the way they behaved after the event) shows that at best they do not understand games, (or are treating it as a second-class artform compared to film) and at worst shows them to be too easily swayed by politics. Given the BBFC's power to ban, they are not the people that should be in charge of the form.

2/ If in the UK gaming wants to be anything other than its current status of the red-headed stepchild of film, culturally speaking, it needs to be able to go "here is 'games*', it is not 'films'" then it needs to be able to separate itself from top to bottom as an equal.

3/ A seperate rating for games from a fresh, independent (from the BBFC) board would also help to give the form's ratings a totally fresh start- freeing it from the inadequacies and internal working cultural hangups of the BBFC, as well as saving it from having to fight their film colleagues for resources.

4/ This would be a good, yet still effective, compromise. The original Byron decision- to extend the BBFC to the 12 rating and keep PEGI on for lower ones- was a woolen attempt at pleasing everyone. A complete analogue to the BBFC, but for games, would go much further to doing this. The games industry gets a dedicated games body, the public get accurate ratings from people who know what they're doing, and the government get to beef up censorship and appease the Daily Mail for five minutes, until they cry louder next time, like a child given a toy to be quiet in the shops.

/b

*as a single abstract concept, hence the iffy grammar

Re: PEGI vs. BBFC - Fight! ...Now with Bonus Paranoia

1/ The BBFC's treatment of Carmageddon and Manhunt 2 (especially the way they behaved after the event) shows that at best they do not understand games, (or are treating it as a second-class artform compared to film) and at worst shows them to be too easily swayed by politics. Given the BBFC's power to ban, they are not the people that should be in charge of the form.

If you that because the BBFC should not be allowed to rate games because they have banned two games in their whole history of game classification then by your logic the ERSB is in no position to rate games at all, because they clearly do not understand games. They considered Hot Coffee to be pornographic, and content not suitable for a 17+ rated game, yet 17+ (Restricted) rated films like Basic Instinct contain copious amounts of sex. PEGI also follow a similar system, because I cannot see a reason why a game like Mass Effect was rated 18+ by PEGI, it contained one very mild sex scene. It seems that PEGI also have an aversion to sex in games yet the BBFC rated it a 12 because the content in the game would not be out of place in a 12 rated film. Indeed it seems that the BBFC is one of the few who actually rates games on an equal footing to film.

Re: PEGI vs. BBFC - Fight! ...Now with Bonus Paranoia

Without knowing how much sexual content you can get away with in the film rating below Restricted, I can't comment directly on the specific rating- but any restriction on sales of GTA: San An and indeed the later AO-rated uncut MH2 in the US was imposed by the platform holders, not the ratings board.

Furthermore, I point you towards my response to SticKboy above.

/b

Re: PEGI vs. BBFC - Fight! ...Now with Bonus Paranoia

Beemoh, I;m afraid you appear to harbour a few misconceptions about the BBFC. It is clear from the following interviews that the BBFC really *do* understand games both as an industry and as an art form, moreover that internal fights over resources between the gaming and movie departments are implausable. Please do have a read and I'm sure you'll appreciate them in a different light. Personally, having read them I;m not sure if there's much/any need for a dedicated gaming board (other than to appease people such as yourself): -

GameSpot - Q&A: BBFC examiner Jim Cliff explains UK games ratings

Joystiq - Games Market Europe: BBFC interview

...

-- teh moominz --

Re: PEGI vs. BBFC - Fight! ...Now with Bonus Paranoia

...plus these two here:

GamesIndustry.biz - BBFC's David Cooke//Interview

MCV - VIOLENCE IN GAMES: The BBFC

Having read these, in what way do you percieve the BBFC as either being out-of-touch when it comes to games, or treating them as a second-class citizen of entertainment media? It seems to me that they have a firm grasp of all aspects of gaming and are far more transparent than many public bodies.

-- teh moominz --

Re: PEGI vs. BBFC - Fight! ...Now with Bonus Paranoia

Because they banned MH2, despite it not being any worse than any of the numerous "gorenography" films they have allowed classification, and then when asked by the Daily Mail why they didn't cut or ban the film Eastern Promises a few months later:

A spokesman for the board said it was up to adults to decide what they wanted to watch and that movie-goers were free to look away from the screen.

The BBFC provides clear consumer advice. If the board went about cutting out every scene liable to offend then we would be leaving adults without any choice. Who's to decide what adults can or can't watch?

For the BBFC to take this attitude to film, but not to games show they are treating it as a second-class artform.

/b

Re: PEGI vs. BBFC - Fight! ...Now with Bonus Paranoia

Um... did you actually read those interviews (where you can read their accounts first-hand), or merely leaped back to to an uncredited reference in The Daily Fail?

I'm very eager to hear your opinions on the articles I linked you to.

-- teh moominz --

Re: PEGI vs. BBFC - Fight! ...Now with Bonus Paranoia

Group in when asked directly how well they're doing, say they're doing perfectly shocker!

Less sarcastically, yes, I did read the articles, rarely if ever do they touch on the point I was making, when they do they fail to provide what is to me a convincing argument, and their words simply don't match up with their actions.

/b

Re: PEGI vs. BBFC - Fight! ...Now with Bonus Paranoia

Do you at least concede that they they do actually understand games? To my mind, it's abundantly clear after reading those that their employees have a firm grasp of games, gaming and gamer culture and afford them equal status with films, as far as classification goes.

 

I've still yet to see any evidence of the "internal working cultural hangups" you refer to above, surely invalidating points 1 and 3?

-- teh moominz --

Re: PEGI vs. BBFC - Fight! ...Now with Bonus Paranoia

To me, they don't understand games to an acceptable standard, with Carmageddon and MH2 as my examples of where their understanding fails- and their way of reacting to, and the result of these blind spots make up the way they fail to treat games and films equally- hence point one.

Point three represents a theoretical 'reboot' of the ratings system- as an extreme consequence. 

To use my original comment:

freeing it from the inadequacies and internal working cultural hangups of the BBFC,

There's no getting away from the fact that the BBFC were founded to rate films, not games- the BBFC predates the mere notion of videogames, after all- and the way they rate games is going to be a modified version of the way they rate films, and as they have to use the same ratings as the films, game ratings are limited in what they can portray- and the film ratings too have to be sculpted to allow for changes needed by games.

To that extent, there will be inefficiencies and kinks in the system that ultimately affect their ability to do their job properly- this could be minor, this could be major, without physically sitting in on a number of BBFC ratings sessions, I couldn't tell you for certain- but being able to come in with a fresh slate would do the ratings a world of good.

as well as saving it from having to fight their film colleagues for resources.

Any organisation that has more than one focus is going to have to find a balance between them- Mercedes-Benz, for instance, have to find the balance of resources between making their van-based fleet vehicles and their luxury private cars. Similarly, the BBFC, if handed the games ratings, will have to find a way of ensuring that doing so does not affect their ability to rate films, regardless of how separate they try and keep them.

/b

 
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