Internet professionals are developing a computer game rating
system to shield teenagers from online violence, pornography and
terror, despite heavy resistance from game producers.
Six of the most popular computer games were rated at the
inaugural Green Game Assessment Meeting organized by the China
Youth Association for Network Development (CYAND), a
government-sponsored civil organization that aims to promote good
The games, including mega-hits Counter Strike by
Washington-based Valve Corporation and Warcraft III by
California-based Blizzard Entertainment, were rated in terms of
violence, sex, terror and morality.
The CYAND asked a 40-member panel to place the games into five
categories, namely games for all, games for players above 12, 16
and 18, and games with dangerous implications.
According to the "green game criteria" drafted by the CYAND,
"green games" are those suitable for players under the age of 18.
Despite this enabling the Chinese video game market to work under
the same restrictions as the global market, the initiative is being
cold-shouldered by industry professionals.
Wang Ning, director of Aomei Electronics' game department, said
his company will abide by regulations of China's General
Administration of Press and Publication and Ministry of
Culture, implying that CYAND's ratings are not legally binding.
Asked whether the company will submit its products to CYAND
before putting them on the market, no answer was forthcoming, but
he said CYAND is not a government department and therefore game
producers have no obligation to comply with "green game
Aomei Electronics has introduced Warcraft,
Starcraft and Diablo -- American games from
Blizzard Entertainment -- to the Chinese market over the past 10
years, all with great success.
Experts point out that even if the rating efforts have a
positive impact, they are not likely to change the business
operation of game producers or affect the choices of game players.
It was noted that rampant piracy in China makes it difficult to
establish an effective game rating system.
"I doubt very much that young players will use the ratings to
select games," Xu Leiting, an expert on teenage psychology, said in
yesterday's Beijing Morning Post.
"The management of on-line games is a complicated social
project. The government should issue relevant laws and regulations
and adopt a compulsory rating system," he said.
(Xinhua News Agency October 18, 2006)