A new games industry study by the BBFC has warned developers may have to start self-regulating their content as graphic games imagery becomes more realistic.

BBFC: ‘developers will have to show restraint’

The research, designed to "to improve understanding of what players enjoy about video games, and to explain their preferences for particular games" was conducted by interviewing gamers and games industry professionals. It also set out to find out what impact players think playing games have on them and their behaviour, and what players think about the violence in some games.

On that latter point, the research says that some of its interview subjects "appear to feel that games developers will have to become more restrained in their inclusion of violent action if graphics start to look like film", pointing out that "Currently graphics are treated as mere representations of something real. The better they are, the more they invite scrutiny and comparison with real things, and the more they are identified as unreal."

“The photorealism is beginning to become apparent now with the next gen consoles. There’s less and less differentiation between what games look like and what films look like, but then you’ve got the interaction of the game… there is going to be a greater need for games developers to look at what people can actually do in the game,because the immersion is so much deeper now," An unnamed professional involved in games production is quoted as saying.

They add: "Up until now, if you shot a character in human form on a PlayStation 1 or a PC […] it doesn’t have that visual impact of a film. There’s going to be a much greater level of immersion in it,so that comes with extra responsibility."

The report in full can be downloaded from the BBFC site here.

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