John Riccitiello Calls For Universal Ratings System

Never let it be said that we can’t set aside our differences and fight for the common good, even with the worst company in America*.

Remember a few weeks back when there was a major issue on Windows Live due to the ridiculous difference between the way the US and Europe rate games? Yeah, that was kind of dumb. In fact, there really needs to be a broad, dare I say universal standard for how games are rated so that people in Europe and America get the same content with the same lack of restrictions. And it turns out that someone with a lot of power, EA CEO John Riccitiello agrees!

Speaking to politicians in Washington, he said “We must adopt a self-regulated, global rating system across every format games are played on.” Great!

Oh wait, this reminds me of something. Oh, it reminds me of the MPAA. You know, the self-regulating board that has no oversight and things blood and guts are less offensives than penises and pubic hair. I’m pretty sure I’m not in favor of forcing European-sold games to be as concerned with sex as American games are, aren’t you?

So I guess I’m not on the same side after all, mainly because I would prefer that we just decide that content suitable for 18 year olds is also suitable for 16 year olds, and stop freaking out. Anyway, here are the rest of Riccitiello’s comments on the matter:

We live in an incredible age. In the past three years the audience for games has grown from roughly 200 million, to over one billion. Virtually everyone on the planet who owns a phone, can play a game. The Supreme Court has given us the same First Amendment rights as authors, musicians and film makers — a set of rights which we cherish.”

“But as we are so often told: with great freedom, comes great responsibility. To live up to that responsibility, we need to do a better job informing the consumer, no matter the channel, the platform or the geography. We must adopt a self-regulated, global rating system across every format games are played on.

What are your thoughts, Game Fronters? Sound off in comments.

Via VG 24/7.

* We kid, we kid.

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3 Comments on John Riccitiello Calls For Universal Ratings System

Ebalosus

On November 16, 2012 at 3:58 am

I’m against all rating systems. Why? Because they encourage censorship, not the opposite, as their proponents assert. You even said it in the article, qoute:

“…it reminds me of the MPAA. You know, the self-regulating board that has no oversight and things blood and guts are less offensives than penises and pubic hair. I’m pretty sure I’m not in favor of forcing European-sold games to be as concerned with sex as American games are, aren’t you?”

Things like the ESRB and the MPAA actually encourage censorship more than they prevent it, because of a factor out of their control: Labeling. Because society at large in america (R18 over here is used on lots of things, and nobody blinks an eye) assumes that anything rated either AO (in the case of the ESRB) or NC-17 (in the case of the MPAA) will be highly sexualised, or outright pornography. As such, major retailors will refuse to carry them, ergo companies will censor themselves in order to avoid a rating that will prohibit a greater audience.

This is why I’m of the opinion that ratings do nothing to inform parents, and do nothing to stop people outside the proported rating playing the game, and forces publishers to cower to the greater whims of society in order to not offend anyone. People like to talk about “artistic integrity,” which to me means NOT cowering to society just because your art offends someone or some group.

Also, an arbitrary number of orbits around a star is not a good measure of maturity (just sayin).

Hemle

On November 16, 2012 at 9:52 am

As part of this, all EA games should be universally labelled ‘rushed-out corporate bollocks’.

R.J.

On November 16, 2012 at 11:42 am

The biggest problem is that cultural differences mean that there really isn’t any “universal” system to be made. Who exactly would set the standards? If nothing else, I see it as curbing what devs are willing to try because they might be worried that if they don’t get a certain rating, they’ll never be able to sell their games. Having separate standards might be frustrating to those seeking international releases, but at least they have the comfort of knowing what rating the game will likely receive within their own country. Some stores in certain countries won’t sell games above a certain rating, but such games do get made in nations that allow such sales. If this international system inaccurately bumped up a rating because certain nations are more “sensitive” to certain material, devs might not make the game they want to make because they have to consider the possibility that something that might have squeaked by locally would get an inflated rating and be barred within their own country.