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PEGI resolute over We Dare's 12 rating

Tue 08 Mar 2011 11:08am GMT / 6:08am EST / 3:08am PST
Legal

Ratings board adamant that it's content rather than context which must be judged

Ratings board PEGI has defended the award of a 12 certificate to Ubisoft's adult party game We Dare, pointing out that although the marketing campaign has centred on titillation and suggestive themes, the game itself is fairly mild.

A trailer released for the title last month leaves little doubt as to the intended adult audience for the game, a stance which Ubisoft openly embraces.

"We Dare is intended for a mature audience and Ubisoft created its marketing campaign accordingly," the French publisher told Cubed3.

"The PEGI ratings system is decided upon by a pan-European body and the rating for this game was bestowed by the independent PEGI board. Ubisoft has added a 'Parental Discretion Advised' sticker to the game in order to ensure that parents are informed of the potential sensitive nature of the game content."

PEGI's response to enquiries from the blog were less forthright, claiming that it had to judge suitability based on content, not context, and also alluding to varying standards within the borders of its Europe-wide constituency.

"Since PEGI is a Pan European system, the questionnaire is designed to meet varying cultural standards in all the member states. So for example, mild violence may not be a very shocking element in your country, but the swearwords in some games may be," read a PEGI statement.

"PEGI does not take into account the context of a game when rating it, we only look at the contents of the game. [We Dare] has been rated as a PEGI 12 because it contains mild swearing, minor assault on a human-like character and words/activities that amount to obvious sexual innuendo, explicit sexual descriptions or images and sexual posturing."

Whilst the rating raises an interesting issue over intent vs content, the UK press have pounced upon the story as an example of lax content controls in videogame sales, with The Sun claiming that the game is marketing sexual content directly to 12 year olds.

Interestingly, Ubisoft has completely ruled out a US release for the game, even to the point of region-restricting the YouTube advertisements for the game to European territories.

The UK is currently awaiting a ruling on the nature of PEGI's ratings, a decision which has been delayed until further notice.

9 Comments

Wesley Williams
Quality Assurance

131 68 0.5
Ubisoft quite obviously went for a sexually overt marketing campaign to generate just this kind of noise about a game which would likely have been overlooked otherwise. Having not seen/experienced the actual content of the game I think it's unfair to judge it on a trailer, but if the final product were to require the kind of situations found in the trailer then a 12 rating is inappropriate. PEGI assure us that is not the case and we should trust them, but that won't stop the media clamouring for action when all they've seen is a trailer which is making them dance to Ubisoft's merry marketing tune.

The bigger concern for me is who the hell Ubisoft think are actually going to buy the game? Swingers? Students? Anyone else? Seems like a lot of wasted time and money to me.

Posted:3 years ago

#1

Klaus Preisinger
Freelance Writing

1,066 997 0.9
Where is the publisher doing "We Caligula" for purely the shock value? Maybe the Sun could indirectly finance it and make back its money with scathing articles about the debauchery.

Posted:3 years ago

#2
maybe it should have been more appropriately titled - Drunk Party Games instead of We Dare?

Posted:3 years ago

#3
I'd never heard of this game until today. I've since looked at the trailer and i have to wonder, who is this targetted at? What tiny percentage of Wii owners are really going to be thinking about buying this game.

Sure, with all the "negative" publicity, a lot more will now have heard of it. And like me they'll view the trailer. Will that translate to a sales spike?

Even in the context of things you might get up to with your spouse/partner, playing a Wii game as foreplay is especially outlandish.


Posted:3 years ago

#4

Andrew Goodchild
Studying development

1,234 394 0.3
Actually, I have no problem with the game, I won't buy it but I don't see why it shouldn't be made for adults who want to play it, and I have one thing from the trailer that actually, I want to appluad Ubisoft for. It is the first videogame advert I have ever seen that, if you watch to the end, has a big full screen emphasising console parental controls. They have actually made an effort to inform parents that they can lock out adult content on consoles used by kids, so well done.

In terms of the PEGI rating, clearly it should be higher, and the fact they cited cultural differences in Europe was part of the BBFC's argument as to why they should be the group rating all games in the UK. If all markets in Europe have different sensitivities, then maybe we shouldn't have a pan European rating system.

Posted:3 years ago

#5

Private
Industry

1,176 182 0.2
From the trailer shown there is nothing that would suggest a high rating is required. It`s nothing compared to what 13 or 14 year olds are doing now. Unless the text in the game says "We dare you to strip and get totally naked" why would it deserve a high rating? If I would have a kid with the age of somewhere around 12-14 that game would be the least of my worries.

Posted:3 years ago

#6

Tony Johns

520 12 0.0
Different cultral issues....determine the rating PEGI gives it....

I don't think the PEGI is in the wrong here, I often feel that the people who are in the wrong are those who try to make a problem out of something that is not really a problem at all.

Also, even if the game does have sexual innuendo, I don't find it any problem at all because if the content is mild then of course it is going to be rated 12.

Although it would be really innapropriate if it was rated 7 or 3....

12 is for mild content and I do believe that sexual innuendos ARE mild enough for a 12 rating regardless of how the advertising campaign decided to point the advertising direction.

Posted:3 years ago

#7

James Prendergast
Research Chemist

734 429 0.6
@Tony,

PEGI's ratings do not explicitly deal with sexual innuendo. Take this for the 12 rating for example:

Videogames that show violence of a slightly more graphic nature towards fantasy character and/or non graphic violence towards human-looking characters or recognisable animals, as well as videogames that show nudity of a slightly more graphic nature would fall in this age category. Any bad language in this category must be mild and fall short of sexual expletives.

It deals primarily with violence - as if that is the main concern about games' content. But, you can show a bit of cleavage! (Which is not okay for a rating of 7).

Compare this with ESRB and BBFC and you get a slightly different picture. ESRB's Teen rating (13+) allows "suggestive themes" though this is pretty broad and i'm not sure how applicable that is to the game in question since you're, looking at the video, simulating real world experiences through this "spin the bottle on a disc" game. BBFC has no 12 rating for games but the other two ratings (15 and 18) are not altered for gaming so just looking at the 12 rating descriptions you see that sexual content and reference must be brief and discreet - something that this game is not.

Honestly, i really do not agree with moving to PEGI, the lack of actually participating in rating the game rather than just rubber-stamping the form (with money, of course) not only leaves the industry open to legal wranglings but also reduces the ability of the agency to accurately rate within the context of the game and the society it is being released in.

Posted:3 years ago

#8
Read an interesting blog article on this (in french though): [link url=http://www.les-filles-du-marketing.com/2011/02/petits-flirts-entre-amis-le-premier-jeu.html
]http://www.les-filles-du-marketing.com/2...[/link]

It basically analyze the work done from a marketing point of view and says that by pushing a "game for adults", they are really targeting teenagers.
If it were a "Wii - Truth or Dare" with teenagers all over, it would probably be not doing its job.

As for the PEGI, it deals with sexually explicit content. My guess is that the gameplay isn't that explicit in its execution and the campaign shows how it could be played, the same you could play any game on some girls (or guys) lap.
If you follow the reasoning from that article, Ubisoft probably doesn't want the game to be rated 18+ but they will also probably never they say it publicly.

I might give the game try, purely to make my own opinion about how appropriate it is... I just need a Wii I guess.

Posted:3 years ago

#9

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