The 64-page, Comparing Classifications Report was undertaken by the Office Of Film & Literature Classification in New Zealand.
The report looked 260 feature films and 112 video games across 2012 and 2013, comparing their New Zealand classification rating to Australia, the United Kingdom, the United States, Ontario and Singapore. From this, a total of 102 films and 77 games were classified in all of the jurisdictions compared.
According to the NZOFLC the comparisons for games show that;
- Overall, game classifications in New Zealand are less restrictive than those of the United Kingdom and Ontario, and more restrictive than those of Singapore, Australia, and the United States.
- The average strength of game classifications in different jurisdictions (for 2012/13) is similar to our last report (for 2010/11).
- There have been changes since our last analysis however: the United Kingdom is included in the games comparison as it began enforcing the European PEGI system in 2012, and Australia began using an R18+ classification for games in 2013.
- Having adopted the European PEGI system and legally enforced its age ratings, the United Kingdom now has the most restrictive classification system for games of any jurisdiction in our study. Game classifications in the United Kingdom are most consistent with New Zealand’s: 89% of titles in our sample received a relatively consistent classification in both jurisdictions.
- Game classifications in the United States are the least consistent with New Zealand’s, with just 18% of the sample receiving a relatively consistent classification.
- For games classified in Australia in 2012, only 14% of titles were relatively consistent with New Zealand’s, but this rose to 49% in 2013 after the introduction of an Australian R18+ classification for games. The overall impact
- of the introduction of R18+ is that games were more restrictively classified in Australia in 2013 than in New Zealand.
- The ESRB system in the United States is the least restrictive system for game classification because it is not legally enforced. However, when fully enforced in Ontario, the system is more restrictive than New Zealand’s.
- Singapore’s game classification system is considerably less restrictive than its system for films, and is one of the least consistent in this regard when compared with other jurisdiction.
Overall the NZOFLC stated that the “Restrictiveness of NZ classifications is closest to UK’s” as they launched the report via their official Twitter account.
You can download the full report here.