Sports, music games exempt from ratings in latest UK bill

Draft of Digital Economy measure proposes exceptions for games situated in athletics, rhythm, religion genres.

The British government outlined its plans for the future of the Digital Economy in June. As part of those proceedings, the government made it clear that the Pan-European Game Information (PEGI) system would become legally enforceable in the UK. Last week, the British Parliament published the latest draft of the bill, offering more details on how it plans to handle ratings exemptions.

The next Guitar Hero might be rated N/A.

As had been suggested, all titles that are aimed at younger children will be exempt from statutory classification. Specifically, anything aimed exclusively at those under 12 will not require legal classification, as long as it does not contain "depictions of violence towards human or animal characters," "depictions of violence towards other characters where the violence looks realistic," swearing, encouragement to criminal activity, "words or images that are likely, to any extent, to stimulate or encourage the use of alcohol or tobacco," or anything that might cause offence on grounds of religion, race, sexual orientation, or similar.

All education titles are also exempt, as long as they are taken as a whole "designed to inform, educate or instruct."

A third exemption category has also been outlined in the bill that covers sports, music, and religion-based games. The exemption has previously been applied to other forms of video works through the Video Recordings Act (1984), but it has yet to be applied to video games. For instance, the BBFC has previously given installments in Activision's Guitar Hero series a 12 rating, meaning that under the previous system it was illegal for the games to be sold to anyone under that age even though they were apparrently exempt from rating.

The exemptions for sport and music games are forfeited if the games in question feature "human sexual activity or acts of force or restraint associated with such activity," serious violence against humans or animals, or depictions of "human genital organs or human urinary or excretory function."

UPDATE: When contacted by GameSpot the Video Standards Council--who will be legally responsible for enforcement of ratings in the UK when the new rules come into force--explained that if exempt games were to be submitted for PEGI classification, then those ratings would still carry legal weight.

Written By

Want the latest news about Guitar Hero?

Guitar Hero

Guitar Hero

Follow

Discussion

49 comments
nineteen93
nineteen93

I will be eagerly waiting for the next Guitar Hero,FIFA which will feature depictions of: "human genital organs or human urinary or excretory function."

azureblade89
azureblade89

So..does that mean they're gonna start adding the real lyrics to songs now? Just something wrong with Down With The Sickness without the swearing.

sdcazares1980
sdcazares1980

In other words, they won't know what the heck to enforce...

mariostar0001
mariostar0001

For those who say who cares, I do. And I know many people who do. It's just that few of them come here, they just ask me for game advice or use the official scholastic code book. Personally, I cannot think of anything to say on this topic. Just on ratings in general.

Kevu
Kevu

Maybe when the UK pins down a system it can help out poor Australia. Lord knows they need help getting a mature game w/o being censored or imported.

WeWerePirates
WeWerePirates

XanderKage "Posted Nov 24, 2009 2:11 pm GMT I thouht that's what E rating was for? Now they want to just drop it? Lazy much?" You've kind of missed the point. First E is an ESRB rating which applies only to North America. Currently the UK uses a system of PEGI and BBFC. PEGI is the industry self regulation rating, which is not enforceable, the nearest thing to an E is 3+. BBFC have U (universal) and PG rating but a game only needs to be classified by the BBFC it is likely to require a 15 rating. The BBFC rating is enforceable. The UK exempt E isn't a real rating and there is no requirement to carry it. Currently there is a change over going on to simplify the system to drop the BBFC ratings and make the PEGI rating enforceable. It seems in the process this sort of stuff is getting a tidy up too. These three categories should already be ratings exempt under the Video Recordings Act.

Pyerun
Pyerun

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

brendanhunt1
brendanhunt1

Hybridos "human genital organs or human urinary or excretory function." lost and damned, mgs4

FreshTillDeath
FreshTillDeath

Does anyone really care about game ratings? I;m 16 and half of my collection is rated 18.

XanderKage
XanderKage

I thouht that's what E rating was for? Now they want to just drop it? Lazy much?

rangeraa
rangeraa

"or anything that might cause offence on grounds of religion, race, sexual orientation, or similar. " Umm...People will find reasons to be offended by ANY game! Don't forget all those people that think that rock and roll is the devils music(they are out there my friends mom is one of them!)

PixelAddict
PixelAddict

Ratings and their decisions are so arbitrary... so why on Madden is a vicious hit that will injure the opposing player and knock him out of the game not applicable. Seems like violence to me. Keep in mind I am only playing devil's advocate. My latest favorite game is the Origins: Wolverine game from awhile back. Bloodiest (and funnest) game I have played in awhile. Pure fun.

ColonelX24
ColonelX24

My guess is they took education out of the classification so that they'd stop getting rated "boring".

punkpunker
punkpunker

umm... doesnt N/A is normally for banned games since is not rated?

razgriz_101
razgriz_101

a lot of music DVD's i own the NFG and the Franz Ferdinand ones for example are rated E for exempt in the UK.So in a way its just making music games more integrated into the way things are done when it comes to musical media. If its got questionalbe whats wrong with a parental advisory stickers like the CD carry? :P

Megamanx266
Megamanx266

Wow... now if only the ESRB did that. Oh wait it'll never do that! Kindof funny how Music games are included... seeing as how there are quite a number of songs with... interesting lyrics.

Lucifericus
Lucifericus

I think rating systems are stupid. If books are exempt from rating system then by all means let's get rid of all rating systems. Not like it will make a difference, little children play Grand Theft Auto regardless of the M on it.

SteeleInd
SteeleInd

@Hybridos Played GTA IV: The Lost and Damned? There's some male genitals in there.

TheBionicRock
TheBionicRock

In a nutshell "By the way in case you forget here's a handy reminder we're ******* nuts!". Go go control freak UK!

Xplode_77
Xplode_77

I did'nt get the meaning of this announcement at all...

alexLmx6
alexLmx6

its exempt from ratings after they have throughly reviewed the content to determine that it is exempt from being rated.. right and another thing, don't they know that everybody poops?

Col-Struckin
Col-Struckin

I think is funny that they put so many new restrictions on video games now, but don't do anything about tv these days.

D3j1k0
D3j1k0

I'm surprised they decided to exempt the religious games. many religions are are MUCH more violent (and have more sexual content ;) ) than most games.

clintbrew
clintbrew

i learning itailian from assassin creed 2 and how to kill zombies from dead rising

BrYaNq93
BrYaNq93

I don't see the point in this.... :/

DamnedApples
DamnedApples

@ Hybridos what!? Don't tell me you haven't played R-Kelly's licensed game "Golden Showers" on the PS3 and 360 yet. bodily fluids rendered in 1080i HD...good stuff

DamnedApples
DamnedApples

oh wait, religious games are now excluded!? You heard that devs? You can now make an extremely realistic game about the Crusades, or the Spanish Inquisition and totally dodge the rating system.

MERGATROYDER
MERGATROYDER

LMAO. I love how movies get no exception.

StarvingPoet
StarvingPoet

Stop wasting our money making useless laws!

mirriorman
mirriorman

@ Hybridos i know or are they just planning ahead?

mlg_oriongamer
mlg_oriongamer

wait a minute i reread the they cant to stuff like blitz but football is violence baseball and any other sport has some form of violence

mlg_oriongamer
mlg_oriongamer

look on the news if they comeout with a game like blitz the league youll be hearing all about how it didnt get rated and is poisening kids minds...... and jak_naiper he esrb is the most exact but its a little unfair a pg 13 movie can be worse then an m rated game and it contridicts its own codes halo 3 odst for example according to the esrbs what a game has to be rated the stuff all fell under t but got an m rateing and games getting rated m for simple use of the f word is retarded

Dan21278
Dan21278

......Yeah... what he said

danielwd
danielwd

what are you on about jak_napier (Its more general and specific)

okassar
okassar

"Excretory minigames" LMAAAAO!

Jak_Napier
Jak_Napier

yea i think that the ESRB rating in North America is by far a more appropriate and fair way to rate games. Its more general and specific when it comes to listing content that is in the game.

tremor33
tremor33

Ha! Remember Conker's Bad Fur Day on N64? Gotta pee to put the fire out!

system3142
system3142

I remember there was a dude doing that urinary stuff in Manhunt. You could get him with either a glass shard or a plastic bag. Ah, to be 15 again...

Hybridos
Hybridos

"human genital organs or human urinary or excretory function." Yet to find a game that exemplifies on that aspect...

jazilla
jazilla

Cool. Time to release a baseball game with PED use in it in England then.

-Fromage-
-Fromage-

Man I cant wait for sports games that have realistic urinary and excretory minigames.

raahsnavj
raahsnavj

Maybe I'm confused, if they find out that the game is ok to have an exemption, shouldn't they just take the small amount of time to stamp an 'E' on the front? What exactly is the exemption from?