An investigation conducted by UK gaming publication Computer & Video Games shows that some online retailers are not doing their best to keep under-age children from buying mature-rated video games online. The investigative report (which includes some video) shows a person purchasing three games online without any age verification checks blocking his purchase. The UK-based retailers found to be lacking in this area include Amazon UK, HMV and Zavvi.
Entertainment reviews aggregation site Metacritic has published its 2012 publisher rankings, ranking Electronic Arts at the top of the list, followed by Microsoft, Sony, Nintendo, and Capcom. The rankings use each publisher's game scores to determine the order.
EA was helped by Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning and Mass Effect; Microsoft came in second with the help of Mark of the Ninja; followed by Sony with Journey; Nintendo with Xenoblade Chronicles for Wii; and Capcom with Okami HD and Dragon's Dogma - both for PS3.
The Raspberry Pi Foundation has released OpenArena, an "adults only" multiplayer first person shooter based on the Quake III engine. Available now for Raspberry Pi systems, the game runs on a modified version of the engine that powers Quake III - id tech 3, and the gameplay has been heavily modified to work on the system. The copyrighted material from Quake III has also been removed to make the game truly open sourced. Obviously there are still some outstanding bugs in the software.
Australia's second game to receive an R18+ games ratings classification is Ubisoft's Spartacus Legends, according to Player Attack. Spartacus Legends is a free-to-play action game to be released on Xbox Live and PlayStation Network. It's based on the gritty and gory Starz original gladiator drama Spartacus.
The Washington Times (thanks to PHX Corp for pointing this out) notes that the President is not looking for more regulations on video games and movies (through research announced today through the CDC), but wants the respective industries to provide parents with more tools so they can make more informed decisions about the content their children are consuming.
When the NRA-branded iOS app NRA: Practice Range launched earlier this week (nearly on the one month anniversary of the Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting that took place in Newtown Connecticut on December 14, 2012) it carried a rating of ages 4+.
The very first game to be classified under the new Australian video games ratings classification of R18+ is Team Ninja's Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor's Edge for Wii U. Prior to the new rating - which went into effect officially on January 1, 2013 - games with the kind of content that Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor's Edge contains would be refused classification and would effectively be prohibited from being sold in the country.
Drawing conclusions based on a lack of evidence is not mutually exclusive to politicians in America and in Europe, as evidenced in this Peninsula report. According to the publication, one politician in the Philippines is indirectly blaming video and arcade games for the recent rash of shootings in the country.
As we reported earlier today, Australia now has an R18+ rating for its video games.
But will the extra rating change anything? The government still has the ability to refuse classification. Will particularly violent titles be released under the new adult rating or will they just get banned anyway?
On January 1, the Australian R18+ classification for video games went into effect. Prior to that, Australia remained one of the few developed countries not to have a classification equivalent to a "mature" game rating. In the past, games that had content that was considered too mature for the country's MA15+ category would often be refused classification - effectively games at this level were banned for sale in the region.
According to new research from UK video game industry trade group UKIE, 24 percent of parents are unlikely to check the ratings of the video games they buy for their children during the holiday shopping season. UKIE says that only two out of five parents said that they buy games with a suitable age rating, while 43 percent said they checked ratings but didn't necessarily followed the PEGI guidelines.
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.
Apparently taking cues from 'Cinemax' or 'Showtime After Dark,' Eurogamer has discovered that the European Wii U eShop prohibits all consumers from accessing mature-rated games and content during the daytime hours.
GameSpot is reporting that the government of Queensland, Australia will not sell games marked with the new R18+ rating in the state until sometime after February 7, 2013.
It looks like the follow-up to the Zombie-themed action-RPG Dead Island won't be coming to Germany. In a recent interview with PCGamesN, Dead Island: Riptide creative producer Sebastian Reichert said this was due to the country's strict guidelines on the sale of violent media.
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.
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.
The Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) announced what they are calling a "streamlined, no-cost service for assigning ratings to all digitally delivered games." The ESRB's new "Digital Rating Service" gives developers and publishers access to a "brief but detailed online questionnaire" to define a product's content, age-appropriateness, interactive elements, and platforms.
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."
Australia’s Attorney General John Rau has done an about face according to Indaily, who reports that he has given a greenlight to both MA15+ and R18+ games rating classifications. Previously he had made a decision to abolish the MA15+ classification in South Australia when the new 18-rated game classification was approved.
The Attorney General said that the recently released guidelines were "stringent enough" and different enough from an earlier draft he had some qualms about.
VG247 points out the release of a new document released by Australia's classification board, which puts a strong emphasis on the negative effects that games can have due to their "interactive elements."
The Australian Capital Territory has officially introduced the R18+ ratings classification for games, according to Gamespot (Thanks to Cheater87 for the tip). The law was passed by the ACT Legislative Assembly this week, making it the first territory in the country to do so. The new rating was introduced earlier this year.
While other App stores such as Google Play and Apple App Store have eschewed the ESRB ratings system here in the United States in favor of their own internal systems, Verizon is taking a different tact. Verizon has been slowly adding the ESRB ratings system for all of the gaming apps in the Verizon App Store for its supported Android devices.
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.