The Video Appeals Committee has announced that it has voted in favour of Rockstar, by a margin of four votes to three, in its appeal against the BBFC for its decision to ban controversial PS2, PSP and Wii title Manhunt 2 from release in the UK.
The BBFC has said that it will consider the VAC’s judgement, and subsequently how it plans to react, when it receives the relevant papers. A statement from the body read:
The BBFC exercises great vigilance and care in ensuring that all violent games which are submitted to us are correctly classified. Our decisions are based on published guidelines, which are the result of very wide public consultation. The Board also provides very full content information to the public, including parents, about the videogames which it classifies. We recently launched a new website for parents, PBBFC, in addition to the main website and our websites for children and students.
The BBFC twice rejected Manhunt 2 for its focus on varied and cumulative killings. We recognise that rejection is a very serious step, in which the desire of publishers to market their games, and that of gamers to buy them, must be balanced against the public interest, including the full range of possible harm risks to vulnerable individuals and to any children who may be wrongly exposed to such games.
Such balancing judgements are inevitably complex and multi-faceted, and are made only after very careful consideration of the contents of a work. We played Manhunt 2 for well over 30 hours prior to our decision.
The Board recognizes that the available research findings on the effects of video games (including positive as well as harmful effects) are varied and contested. But we continue to believe that a broad approach to the possible risks is needed, which goes beyond purely behavioral harm, and which also takes account of other possible effects on the sensibilities and attitudes of individuals.”