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.
You may recall that way back in June that Saints Row IV was officially the first game to be refused classification under the new ratings system in Australia. The Classification Board rejected the game (effectively issuing a ban on the sale of it in the region) because it contained content that the board felt was above and beyond the highest rating a game can get in the country - R18+.
Undead Labs' zombie-survival action game State of Decay is no longer banned in Australia. The game has been granted an R18+ adult rating by the Classification Board, paving the way for it to be sold in Australia. Undead Labs resubmitted a modified version of the game that removed and replaced the contents that the Board found to be beyond the pale - interactive drug use that directly benefited gameplay.
GameSpot Australia is reporting that Undead Labs has resubmitted its zombie themed action game State of Decay to the Australian Classification Board.
Undead Labs' State of Decay is the second game to be refused classification in Australia under the country's new ratings system. The game was refused classification because it includes interactive drug use that "aids in gameplay progression," or rewards the player for engaging in drug use.
Writing on the Undead Labs forum, executive producer Jeff Strain shared the bad news with fans.
Yesterday we reported that Saints Row IV had earned the dubious distinction of being the very first game to be refused classification under Australia's new age rating system for games. Now GameSpot has figured out exactly what got the game banned. Two things managed to get the game bumped from an expected R18+ rating to basically being banned in Australia.
Saints Row IV earns the dubious distinction of being the very first game to be refused classification under Australia's new age rating system for games. The ratings board announced that Saints Row IV "includes interactive, visual depictions of implied sexual violence which are not justified by context. In addition, the game includes elements of illicit or proscribed drug use related to incentives or rewards. Such depictions are prohibited by the computer games guidelines."
The Australian Classification Board has held back the release of Undead Labs' open-world zombie survival title State of Decay for Xbox 360 in the region, according to the developer's official Facebook page.
The Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) was recently honored by the Telly Awards' Silver Council and the International Academy of Visual Arts for public awareness campaign that featured San Francisco Giants players Buster Posey and Ryan Vogelsong who explain in a simple way how parents can check a game's packaging to understand what a video game contains before they make a purchase for their children.
It's June and that means that the Digital Media Association (DiMA), Entertainment Merchants Association (EMA), National Association of Recording Merchandisers (NARM), and National Association of Theatre Owners have banded together once again to declare June to be "Entertainment Ratings and Labeling Awareness Month."
Oblivious to a Federal Trade Commission report released this week that said that only 13 percent of under-age secret shoppers it deployed (as part of a Secret Shopper Survey program in 2012) were able to buy video games from national retailers (see the story here) New Jersey Assemblyman Sean T.
On this week's show we go live on Google + for a lengthy (video) discussion on the "RPG Camp" Kickstarter controversy, the results of the FTC's latest Secret Shopper Survey to test ratings enforcement at retail, Sega's decision to stop pulling Shining Force videos from YouTube and a whole lot more. Download Episode 46 now: SuperPAC Episode 46 (1 hour, 34 minutes) 240.0 MB.
The Entertainment Merchants Association (EMA) today applauded the efforts of retailers in the United States for continuing to show record levels of enforcement of video game and DVD ratings. The praise comes in response to the results of a Federal Trade Commission survey released today. That survey found that video game retailers turned away unaccompanied 13- to 16-year-olds who attempted to purchase Mature-rated games 87 percent of the time and turned away under-aged children who attempted to purchase R-rated or unrated DVDs 70 percent of the time.
Kotaku is reporting that Queensland has finally joined other states in Australia in officially approving an R18+ ratings classification for videogames after a false start earlier in the day when a press release was accidently released announcing that the R18+ rating had been approved by the government. All that needs to be done is for the governor of Queensland to sign it for the new ratings to be in force - expect that to take at least another couple of weeks.
GameSpot is reporting that NetherRealm Studios' Mortal Kombat has finally received a ratings classification in Australia. Two years ago the game was refused classification in the region twice due to its graphic and bloody contents, but thanks to the new R18+ adult rating classification in the region games like Mortal Kombat won't be (hopefully) banned for sale going forward.
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.