Submissions/Global Video Game Ratings Systems Demystified: How the Anti-Censorship Committee of the International Game Developers Association is Using the Wiki Format

From Wikimania 2012 • Washington, D.C., USA

This is an open submission for Wikimania 2012.

Submission no.

DQ 4

Title of the submission
Global Video Game Ratings Systems Demystified: How the Anti-Censorship Committee of the International Game Developers Association is Using the Wiki Format
Type of submission (workshop, tutorial, panel, presentation)
Author of the submission
Daniel Greenberg, Elonka Dunin
E-mail address
IGDA Anti-Censorship
Country of origin
Affiliation, if any (organization, company etc.)
International Game Developers Association
Personal homepage or blog
Abstract (at least 300 words to describe your proposal)

Video game makers continue to lose sales in the global market due to a confusing patchwork of wildly different ratings systems in effect all over the world. A game that is rated for children in Asia might lose sales when re-rated for teens in Europe. A game designed for teens in Europe might lose most of its sales in the US after getting rated for 17 and up. A game designed for adults in the USA might be completely illegal for sale in Australia. The ratings system in Europe has exceptions, like the UK, Germany, and Finland. Japan and South Korea have differences. Emerging markets like Brazil, China, Singapore and Iran have very different standards. And there are further exceptions to the ESRB system used in the USA, Canada, and Mexico, like Apple’s app store. It’s not just small studios and indie developers coding in their basements that get tripped up by global ratings systems. Even the biggest multinational publishers have lost time and sales due to global game ratings confusion. Projects have been delayed in getting to market and costs for last-minute fixes have soared. Some companies have written off entire international markets rather than pay for revisions. Game companies try to preserve hard-won information on dealing with ratings systems, but new design teams often end up in the same squabbles with ratings boards and must re-invent the wheel. The problem is that there is no central clearing house for ratings information. The International Game Developers Association (IGDA) has taken up the challenge as part of its renewed focus on serving the global game community. The Anti-Censorship and Social Issues Committee has launched an initiate to not only preserve this information, but to process it categories of pertinent content, like violence, sexuality, language, smoking, drugs, alcohol, etc. The goal is that game design teams can quickly find the key distinctions that can harm their expected rating and gain valuable insights on how other teams have handled the same issue. Changes made early in the development cycle are far less expensive than changes made late in the process. This project is vast and has stymied earlier efforts. The wiki format might not only be helpful to the success of the project, it could well prove crucial. Learn about the latest progress on the Global Game Ratings project and learn how you can contribute and benefit.

Technology and Infrastructure
Length of presentation/talk
25 Minutes
Will you attend Wikimania if your submission is not accepted?
One person yes, one person maybe
Slides or further information (optional)
Special request as to time of presentations

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