PEGI communications manager Dirk Bosmans has explained the body’s decision to hand Ubisoft’s WeDare title a 12-rating despite the innuendo-filled adverts released for the game.
According to Bosmans, speaking with The Urban Shogun, the reason PEGI has Ubisoft pull its commercials for the game or face sanctions was entirely due to the public’s reaction.
“PEGI has communicated and defended its decision to provide the game with a ’12′ rating on various occasions,” he said. “The problem with the backlash was that all opinions – from both press and consumers – were based on a commercial on YouTube, while the game itself was not available to anyone.
“As long as no-one was able to play the actual game (and see why the 12 rating was confirmed by the VSC), people based their opinion on the video advert, making it really hard for us to prove our point.
“The concept of ‘context’ is often misunderstood in this, ehm… context. An act of violence or one sexual expletive in an otherwise entirely peaceful movie may not necessarily increase the age rating for that movie, because within the context, viewers are only exposed to it for a few seconds maximum. But with games, a similar act of violence or expletive may have to be replayed a few times up to many many times (partly depending on the skill of the player).
“Content in games is often repeated over and over again and in different scenarios. This is what we mean when we say that PEGI does not take context into account and has to consider every single bit of content in a game.
“But ‘context’ in the sense of ‘atmosphere in which the game is played’ is something entirely different. Sometimes, the VSC or NICAM are confronted with a small number of situations where a strict application of the PEGI criteria does not seem sufficient, since the overall theme or atmosphere of a game has an impact on the gamer’s experience. But this happens very seldomly: there are very few ratings on which the overall theme has an impact that the content of the game didn’t have already.”
Ubisoft has declined to distribute WeDare in the UK, but still plans to release it in Europe.