New Zealand gamers might be getting a new system of videogame ratings in a few years, thanks to a new (and very expensive) study about how games affect people.
New Zealand’s Office of Film and Literature Classification handles the duties of rating and censoring all media in the Kiwi Nation, though the way it rates videogames might actually be changing in the future. The Royal Society of New Zealand’s Mardsen Fund has committed $405,000 to fund a study about how games affect players.
Dr. Gareth Schott, a Senior Lecturer at Waikato University’s school of Screen and Media Studies, will be doing three years of research that will study and record brain activity of gamers playing action-adventure titles. The research will begin next year; it will use a total of 60 gamers as test subjects (20 a year), and they’ll also have to keep a diary and undergo regular interviews.
According to Dr. Schott, rating games is a difficult task because “the experience is very different for every player. Players’ pathways through games and their decision-making processes are based on a range of influences that are embedded with the complex hybrid medium of games.”
While it’s admirable that the country is willing to commit some serious cash to updating its game ratings system, this almost seems like overkill. One would think that a system like the one the ESRB uses here in the United States would be a reasonable way to handle game ratings, especially since it was (presumably) created with little more than common sense.