Train2Game News Age Ratings for Games and Netflix to be Improved

Today the BBFC has launched an innovative new industry collaboration with Netflix to move towards classifying all content on the service using BBFC age ratings.

Netflix will produce BBFC age ratings for content using a manual tagging system along with an automated rating algorithm, with the BBFC taking up an auditing role. Netflix and the BBFC will work together to make sure Netflix’s classification process produces ratings which are consistent with the BBFC’s Classification Guidelines for the UK.

It comes as new research by the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) and the Video Standards Council Rating Board (VSC) has revealed that almost 80% of parents are concerned about children seeing inappropriate content on video on demand or online games platforms.

The BBFC and the VSC have joined forces to respond to calls from parents and are publishing a joint set of Best Practice Guidelines to help online services deliver what UK consumers want.

The Best Practice Guidelines will help online platforms work towards greater and more consistent use of trusted age ratings online. The move is supported by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport as part of the Government’s strategy to make the UK the safest place to be online.

This includes recommending the use of consistent and more comprehensive use of BBFC age labelling symbols across all Video On Demand (VOD) services, and PEGI symbols across online games services, including additional ratings info and mapping parental controls to BBFC age ratings and PEGI ratings.

The voluntary Guidelines are aimed at VOD services offering video content to UK consumers via subscription, purchase and rental, but exclude pure catch-up TV services like iPlayer, ITV Hub, All4, My 5 and UKTV Player.

The research also shows that 90% of parents believe that it is important to display age ratings when downloading or streaming a film online, and 92% of parents think it’s important for video on demand platforms to show the same type of age ratings they would expect at the cinema or on DVD and Blu-ray – confirmed by 94% of parents saying it’s important to have consistent ratings across all video on demand platforms, rather than a variety of bespoke ratings systems.

With nine in 10 (94%) parents believing it is important to have consistent ratings across all online game platforms rather than a variety of bespoke systems, the VSC is encouraging services to join the likes of Microsoft, Sony PlayStation, Nintendo and Google in providing consumers with the nationally recognised PEGI ratings on games – bringing consistency between the offline and online worlds.

The Video Recordings Act requires that the majority of video works and video games released on physical media must be classified by the BBFC or the VSC prior to release. While there is no equivalent legal requirement that online releases must be classified, the BBFC has been working with VOD services since 2008, and the VSC has been working with online games platforms since 2003. The Best Practice Guidelines aim to build on the good work that is already happening, and both authorities are now calling for the online industry to work with them in 2019 and beyond to better protect children.

David Austin, Chief Executive of the BBFC, said: “Our research clearly shows a desire from the public to see the same trusted ratings they expect at the cinema, on DVD and on Blu-ray when they choose to watch material online. We know that it’s not just parents who want age ratings, teenagers want them too. We want to work with the industry to ensure that families are able to make the right decisions for them when watching content online.”

Ian Rice, Director General of the VSC, said: “We have always believed that consumers wanted a clear, consistent and readily recognisable rating system for online video games and this research has certainly confirmed that view. While the vast majority of online game providers are compliant and apply PEGI ratings to their product, it is clear that more can be done to help consumers make an informed purchasing decision. To this end, the best practice recommendations will certainly make a valuable contribution in achieving this aim.”

Digital Minister Margot James said: “Our ambition is for the UK to be the safest place to be online, which means having age ratings parents know and trust applied to all online films and video games. I welcome the innovative collaboration announced today by Netflix and the BBFC, but more needs to be done.

“It is important that more of the industry takes this opportunity for voluntary action, and I encourage all video on demand and games platforms to adopt the new best practice standards set out by the BBFC and Video Standards Council.”

The BBFC is looking at innovative ways to open up access to its classifications to ensure that more online video content goes live with a trusted age rating. Today the BBFC and Netflix announce a year-long self-ratings pilot which will see the online streaming service move towards in-house classification using BBFC age ratings, under licence.

Netflix will use an algorithm to apply BBFC Guideline standards to their own content, with the BBFC setting those standards and auditing ratings to ensure consistency. The goal is to work towards 100% coverage of BBFC age ratings across the platform.

Mike Hastings, Director of Editorial Creative at Netflix, said: “The BBFC is a trusted resource in the UK for providing classification information to parents and consumers and we are excited to expand our partnership with them. Our work with the BBFC allows us to ensure our members always press play on content that is right for them and their families.”

David Austin added: “We are fully committed to helping families chose content that is right for them, and this partnership with Netflix will help us in our goal to do just that. By partnering with the biggest streaming service, we hope that others will follow Netflix’s lead and provide comprehensive, trusted, well understood age ratings and ratings info, consistent with film and DVD, on their UK platforms. The partnership shows how the industry are working with us to find new and innovative ways to deliver 100% age ratings for families.”

Train2Game News OnePlay netflix of gaming

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OnePlay brings downloadable video games to public libraries

Several online services have in the past been touted the Netflix of gaming, but one player seems to finally deliver on the claim: OnePlay.

OnePlay is set to become one of the biggest forces in digital gaming offering users the chance to play more than a 1.000 titles for PC and Android devices for a small monthly fee or for free at your local library.

So how can you play games for free at your local library?
OnePlay deliver games based on the same principle libraries already use for books. Libraries pay OnePlay to be able to offer the service for free for their users. Users can then easily signup for OnePlay to borrow/play any game they want and even buy games at a favorable price, should they want to.

OnePlay already has several libraries signed up for the service, in USA, Europe and Australia

Lasse Jensen, CEO OnePlay, states:  “It has been great experiencing our successful beta launch in USA, now we look forward to rolling out the service in USA, Europe, Latin America and Australia & New Zealand.”

No credit card or cash needed, nothing but a membership at the local library. By using this extremely consumer friendly setting, OnePlay opens up to a market with more than 200.000 libraries and 250+ million library users in USA, Latin America, Australia and Europe. Library users simply download games and play them offline on PCs, Android tablets and smartphones.
 
OnePlay aims to grow the number of publishers, offering games in the subscription service,substantially in the near future. For publishers they have the same friendly approach as they have with consumers. Publishers just need to deliver a DRM free version of their game(s), and OnePlay makes sure to add protection and take care of selling and/or lending the games.
 
OnePlay has a broad range of indie titles, kids’ games and blockbusters available for subscribers to download and play. OnePlay is always looking for more great games!

Train2Game News Netflix to Catch ’em All

Pok_mon_Black___White_screenshot_1The Pokémon Company International and Netflix announce that beginning Saturday, March 1st, Netflix members can instantly stream Pokémon animation.

Featuring aspiring Pokémon Master Ash and his trusted Pokémon partner, Pikachu, they embark on adventures through two popular seasons of the animated series and two action-packed feature films.
The fan-favourite Pokémon: Black & White season introduced a new region, new rivals, new challenges, and all-new Pokémon. Ash may have Pikachu by his side, but he will need plenty of new Pokémon on his team if he wants to challenge Unova’s expert Gym Leaders.

Pokémon: Black & White will be available in all Netflix territories. The first season of Pokémon animation, Pokémon: Indigo League, will also be available in the US, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Ireland. The classic season introduces viewers to the world of Pokémon through Ash and his partner Pikachu as Ash strives to become a Pokémon Master.

Pokémon fans in all Netflix territories can also catch Ash, Pikachu, and their friends in the dual movies Pokémon the Movie: Black—Victini and Reshiram and Pokémon the Movie: White—Victini and Zekrom. When Ash and his friends enter a battle competition in Eindoak Town, they meet the Mythical Pokémon Victini, who becomes their newest friend. But disaster strikes when the misguided wanderer Damon seizes Victini for his own plans! Can Ash prove himself a hero and earn the help of the Legendary Reshiram—or Zekrom—to rescue Victini and save Eindoak Town? Two legends…and two versions of the story!

It’s time to go back and Catch ‘Em All again!

Train2Game News: More Xbox One Changes

Xbox OneAs has been common lately, Microsoft has changed some more of the policies on the Xbox One.

The Xbox One now will not need Kinect to function. The system still comes with the Kinect but it means that if anything happens to your Kinect sensor then it will not cripple your console. However some of the features such as face recognition and voice commands won’t work without it. There is also the ability to turn the Kinect sensor off in the settings of the console if you so desire.

It has also come to light that you will require an Xbox Live gold membership for some of the features on the Xbox One such asthe DVR and the Skype calling. Only Gold members will get access to the new OneGuide system, which curates TV and other entertainment based on viewing patterns. Existing functionality, such as Netflix support, web browsing, and other features familiar from the Xbox 360 will still demand Xbox Gold membership as well.

Finally the more recent update to come to light is Xbox One launch has been delayed until 2014 in eight countries. These include: Russia, Belgium, Netherlands, Switzerland, Sweden, Norway, Finland, and Denmark. Xbox One will launch first in the US, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Australia, New Zealand, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Ireland and Austria in November 2013. Microsoft has said they will give a free game to those who are affected by the delay who have already pre ordered the console.

With just over three months to go before the console is released in most places, what other aspects could Microsoft change?