The US should learn from the UK

I believe the BBFC was absolutely right in refusing to classify Manhunt 2. And in effect the game has been banned globally by Sony and Nintendo because they won’t allow an adults only game on their platforms – and of course it had an adults only rating over here. So in a way the BBFC rating is redundant because the industry itself, the format holders, have banned it.

I think the availability of this game on the Wii platform made it even more problematic, because you can actually move your physique to replicate killing. Also I think the high visibility of Take 2 and Rockstar –the poster child for what’s wrong in the industry – made it more likely that it would get a ban.

If this wasn’t Take 2 it still might have been banned, but the fact that it was Take 2 made it more likely that it would get a ban. They’ve so clearly painted a target on their back that many observers have pointed out that they basically got caught playing the ‘outrage game’ and it set them up for this to happen.

I think it’s conventional wisdom that Take 2 and Rockstar have effectively dug their own grave. I also think this is the greatest thing that the industry has ever done to get people like me off their backs.

Now the industry can argue that it takes seriously its function both in the UK and the States by effectively rating these games or refusing to.

So what’s happened on Manhunt 2 has shut up the likes of Keith Vaz who has been saying not enough is being done. I think the jury’s out as to whether this is an isolated incident we’ll have to wait and see.

The next big thing that’s going to hit is Grand Theft Auto 4 and we’ll have to wait and see whether or not that deserves a very restricted rating or doesn’t get rated at all.

The UK does manage ratings much better than the US where you rate a game that’s inappropriate for minors and then they sell it to them anyway.

The UK’s definitely got it right. You rate a game and you can’t sell it to people if it falls in a certain category –in other words the rating actually has a sanction, whereas in this county the rating means nothing.

You guys have the model. Certainly Australia, New Zealand and Canada have followed the UK’s lead on that and that’s what the US should do. I think you all have it right and I think the ruling on Manhunt 2 was spot on – and I see also that Take 2’s The Darkness was banned in Singapore.

I would absolutely like to see the US and other countries following the UK’s lead. We don’t have a single law in the books that prevents a mature rated game being sold to a minor as young as ten years of age –and in fact that’s what is happening.

I think eventually it will happen [the US adopting a similar ratings scheme], especially if Hilary Clinton is elected as President. This has been one of her issues for many years, so I think if she’s elected you’ll see a real push from the White House to have a national sanction hooking into the Government’s rating system. I think that’s going to happen.

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