Launch of video game rating system prompts calls for film rating system along similar lines

By Chen Xi Source: Global Times Published: 2020/12/17 20:19:52

Dragon Gou, who played under the moniker "Dragku" for the Chiefs Esports Club, plays video games at his home in Sydney on November 13. Photo: AFP

A draft on the video game content rating system has been introduced on Wednesday under the guidance of China's National Press and Publication Administration, which Chinese experts said is a good move for the sound development of children as well as for the internalization of the Chinese games market. 

According to reports, the grading system is mainly composed of three standards based on three different age groups, which are green code for children above eight years old; blue code for those above 12 years old and yellow for those above 16. 

The starting age for game rating has been raised from six-yearold that was previously announced in a notice in 2019 to eight-year-old, which means that the children under eight years old are not allowed to play games. This measure might be related to the fact that children under eight are in a critical period of visual development. 

According to a report of the National School of Development at Peking University, about 450 million children who are above five years old were myopic in 2012, and the number could reach 700 million in 2020 without the intervention of effective policy, the Beijing News reported. 

The draft has gained a lot of support on Chinese social media. Many netizens commended that the grading system is helpful for the healthy development of China's game industry, and some asked when the draft could include a grading system for the users that are above 18. 

According to the report, the draft clearly stipulates that this rating system is not equivalent to the Western classification system, and content related to pornography, violence and gambling will never be allowed to appear in games for adults.

Chu Chaohui, a research fellow at China's National Institute of Education Sciences, told the Global Times on Thursday that the draft can be beneficial to both the mental and physical health of the children and teenagers, and offer them more time to play in  nature. 

Meanwhile, he pointed out that the grading system allows game companies to clearly know their target users and design more detailed and interesting games for users of different ages.

"The rating system is a good move for Chinese video games to enter the world gaming market as many countries have already taken such a step," Chu added. 

The launch of the draft also prompted a heated discussion on Chinese social media as many Chinese netizens called for the launching a motion picture content rating system in China. 

"When can Chinese movies be graded since the video games have been graded," a Chinese netizen asked on China's Twitter-like Sina Weibo.

Xiao Fuqiu, a film critic based in Shanghai Municipality, told the Global Times on Thursday that he is in favor of the motion picture content rating system in China because it could help clarify the boundaries of content creation for filmmakers. 

The system could release the filmmakers' creative enthusiasm and help them control the scale when creating content on some special themes. It will also allow film investors to have a relatively manageable sense of risk, and give them more opportunities to create films with a wide range of topics rather than films like comedy which have low risk and high return on investment, Xiao noted. 


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