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EA’s open letter to the R18+ debate, some unrelated ranting by me

Found this in my inbox today. No doubt it’s up in many places online, but no harm replicating the information here.

The letter is apparently written by EA president Frank Gibeau. It summarises the company’s position on the lack of an R18+ rating for video games in Australia.

At one point I was a staunch supporter of a revised classification system. And, while I would still like reform, I’m tired of the Australian games media using it as its go-to “serious business” story. Where are the articles about the GFC and the games industy, and how it’s affected the local environment? Maybe I’m not reading enough print.

Warning: I’m about to go completely off topic. Don’t ask me why.

It appears Jason Hill’s Screenplay is probably the best source of news in this regard, his latest story on the slashing of Victoria’s Digital Media Fund is testament to this. But, Hill’s style of writing lacks passion; it’s dry without being truly analytical. That’s great for reporting news, but I expect more flavour from a gaming blog. Not that there’s anything bad about that. If there’s a blog I trust and respect, it’s Screenplay, and to me it’s a fortress of serious games reporting that, locally, is nigh untouchable.

On a more general note – Never been a fan of reader-scribed articles. I feel it dilutes your voice and if the articles are good enough to be published, you should be providing compensation, especially if said reader contributes regularly. The novelty of appearing on your favourite site wears off quickly, and after that, well, you’re just doing someone else’s job for them free. Heck, why not start your own blog?

I also understand what it’s like to write blog posts day after day – there’s not always something interesting to write about. But the stories are there… people just have to be passionate enough to go looking for them.

Anyway, enough tangents from me. Read EA’s release after the jump.

Media Statement: Electronic Arts’ Position on the R18+ Rating

Australian legislation should introduce an R18+ rating for video games
By Frank Gibeau, President, EA Games

As the Australian government evaluates the introduction of an 18+ category for video games within the OFLC age rating system, it’s important to remind ourselves that in today’s global video gaming audience, the average age of a gamer is 28.

At EA we are committed to the belief that adult consumers can have responsibility for their entertainment choices. Just as a grown ups can decide to see a film or read a book with mature themes, so should he or she be entitled to choose the same in interactive entertainment.

Government policies that don’t allow for the rating of mature content in video games effectively censor entertainment choices for adults. These policies show a poor understanding of today’s video gaming audience. Existing legislation in Australia that limits age ratings of games to 16, demonstrates a distance between those policies and the reality of the video game industry and the people that play interactive games in Australia today.

The spectrum of gamers is as wide as the viewership of television, movies, theatre, and the readers of books. Governments don’t insist that all books be written for children, or that all television shows be cartoons. Adult gamers want their governments to treat them with the same respect they get as movie goers and book readers. Adult Australians should be allowed to choose the games they play, including those with mature themes.

Around the world, our industry takes very seriously the responsibility we have to protect children from inappropriate content in games. We are committed to robust, easy- to-understand age rating systems designed to help people make appropriate content choices for the right age groups; the OFLC in Australia, the ESRB in North America, PEGI in Europe, CERO in Japan. These systems have been proven as the most efficient way to protect children from inappropriate content and offer parents the right set of information about a game through a recommended age rating, and on-pack information and icons to illustrate themes present within the content of the game.

A government policy that keeps our mature games out of stores and forces developers to rewrite code is censorship. It also forces lesser quality games into that marketplace, often stripped of their intended content and features. What will be next? Will adults be forced to see edited versions of mature films? Read books with certain chapters removed? As policy measures increase restrictions on available content, so too will consumers increase the practice of parallel imports from neighboring or same-language markets, depriving their home country economy of the associated industry revenue.

As the Australian government moves to participate in the economy of the global gaming market, policy makers should consider the environment they create for game makers. Governments that design policies hostile to game developers and their creative medium will struggle to attract investment from the global industry. The global gaming industry is robust and growing faster than any other entertainment medium. It has already largely surpassed cinema and music. If Australia seeks to benefit from this tremendous creative and economic opportunity, its policies should reflect an understanding of the marketplace and a willingness to participate.

A change in the Australian age rating system is needed. We call on the Attorneys General in their next general session to vote unanimously in favor of the introduction of an 18+ rating for video games to allow adults to make their own choices about the entertainment they choose to enjoy. The implementation of a new 18+ age rating classification is the right step for consumers, and for the industry, in Australia.

~ by Logan on May 6, 2010.

2 Responses to “EA’s open letter to the R18+ debate, some unrelated ranting by me”

  1. […] Playwrite: EA's open letter to the R18+ debate, som&#101… […]

  2. Although I do believe it’s an important issue, you’re right in saying that its suffering a bit of over-saturation at the moment. You hit the nail on the head in saying that its the go-to for the ZOMG SRS BUSINESS story.

    p.s. So WHY did you go completely off topic? :D lawls

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