Manhunt 2 has finally been cleared for release – but its convoluted journey to retail has exposed the inherent problems with the current games classification system, say commentators.
In the last week, MCVUK.com revealed that the BBFC was forced to green-light the title for release after the Video Appeals Committee – an extension of the BBFC – upheld Rockstar's appeal.
And now, ahead of Dr. Tanya Byron's report on video game classification, the future of the BBFC as a viable option for games classification has been thrown into doubt.
The grudging nature of the BBFC's statement, that it now has no alternative” but to grant the title a certificate, coupled with the fact the body went to the High Court, twice rejected the game itself and tried to overturn the original judgment of the VAC leaves the organisation with its credibility bruised,” said Darren Waters, editor of BBC News' technology index.
More crucially, the BBFC's role as a body which classifies games is now under scrutiny.
There has been confusion among consumers as to why there are often two certificates on UK games, from the BBFC and European body PEGI.
Dr Tanya Byron is expected to deliver her report into video games, violence and children later this month and I understand she favours handing the job to PEGI,” he added. The BBFC's dogged fight to ban Manhunt 2, even though industry figures lined up to defend the title, might come back to haunt it.”
TechDigest's Jonathan Weinberg agrees: The argument here is not whether Manhunt 2 is bloody, brutal, sick or whatever superlative people want to choose.
What it shows is that the current certification system the Government can't wait to get involved in is not worth the paper it is written on.”