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Ubisoft and PEGI Address We Dare Age Rating Concerns

Ubisoft and PEGI Address We Dare Age Rating Concerns on Nintendo gaming news, videos and discussion

Ubisoft’s We Dare was unveiled to a wave of mirth and confusion last week. Due to be released on Nintendo Wii and PlayStation 3 later this year, We Dare features over 35 mini-games that take a distinctly adult approach, with marketing materials encouraging two players to kiss a Wii Remote simultaneously, spank each other to control on-screen avatars, and striptease to a variety of songs. Nothing to get too concerned about, until you spy the age rating of 12 upon the box.

With a highly suggestive trailer and product description, Cubed3 queried both Ubisoft and PEGI on the appropriateness of the age rating. PEGI (Pan-European Game Information) is responsible for monitoring in-game content to a series of guidelines to ensure that accurate ratings are given to videogames across Europe.

An Ubisoft spokesperson gave the official line on the game:

We Dare is intended for a mature audience and Ubisoft created its marketing campaign accordingly. The PEGI ratings system is decided upon by a pan-European body and the rating for this game was bestowed by the independent PEGI board. Ubisoft has added a ‘Parental Discretion Advised’ sticker to the game in order to ensure that parents are informed of the potential sensitive nature of the game content.”

Cubed3’s query to PEGI was met with a lengthy response detailing their rating process, along with a copy of the guidelines that the company use. Essentially, the final rating is decided through a combination of a declaration of content by the publisher at the time of the game’s submission (see ‘How are the games rated?’ in PEGI’s online FAQ) and an in-depth checklist that deals with several topics, judging how appropriate a game is according to the standards in the various covered countries. Though a publisher’s completion of the questionnaire results in a provisional rating, it is always in the hands of PEGI to reach a final conclusion after review, and the publisher has no influence outside of the initial declaration.

“Since PEGI is a Pan European system, the questionnaire is designed to meet varying cultural standards in all the member states. So for example, mild violence may not be a very shocking element in your country, but the swearwords in some games may be.”

The organisation was also keen to agree with Cubed3 that they do not look at the surrounding context of a game, only the in-game content.

“PEGI does not take into account the context of a game when rating it, we only look at the contents of the game. <We Dare> has been rated as a PEGI 12 because it contains mild swearing, minor assault on a human-like character and words/activities that amount to obvious sexual innuendo, explicit sexual descriptions or images and sexual posturing.”

Despite not examining context or marketing materials, PEGI “do demand that these types of artwork on the same level as the game”. “In the case of We Dare, the cover and trailer are in correspondence with our guidelines.”

To further address concerns, a PEGI spokesperson noted that it was considered that We Dare “might justify a higher rating due to a specific (sexual) atmosphere”, but this proposal was rejected by the Video Standards Council, another independent organisation that verifies the final ratings. “This means that the game itself is in fact less sexual/offensive than the marketing campaign leads us to believe (for example, you cannot see real spanking in the game. There is a 'stripping game' but you don't have to undress; throwing away keys or anything that reduces your weight is good enough).”

Though PEGI and Ubisoft are confident that We Dare falls safely within the agreed guidelines for a 12 rating, the UK tabloid press have already seized upon the age rating story, with The Sun reporting that We Dare “promotes orgies and lesbian sex to kids as young as 12”. Meanwhile, Ubisoft have “emphatically” ruled out an American release when IGN requested a statement on the situation.


What is your opinion on We Dare’s age rating? Are you satisfied that enough has been done to highlight the suggestive themes of the game?

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03.03.2011 10:38

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Senior ModeratorStaff Member

Personally, I wouldn't want my 12 year old kid playing this sort of game. I wouldn't buy it them of course, but there are plenty of parents who might just buy it thinking it will be okay if they see the 12 rating... until they see the game for themselves.

Fair enough that different countries have different regulations (age of consent is as low as 13 or 14 in many European countries), but I think each individual country should be taken into account here too. It's obvious what the intent of the game is, and what it's promoting - there's no way kids as young as 12 should be playing this sort of thing.

Perhaps the BBFC should have rated this one (although from what I gather, they stopped rating games a while ago).

Don't wanna sound up my own arse about this one, because I'm really not. But I just think it would have made a lot more sense to give this sort of game a higher rating. I expect to see a few problems arising from this game (Daily Mail's gonna have a field day).

( Edited 04.12.2012 19:52 by Guest )

Cubed3 Staff :: Senior Editor
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"promotes orgies and lesbian sex to kids as young as 12!"

That quote should be on the front cover. But seriously, this game is probably only as naughty as the people playing it, so even if 12 year olds did play it, they would probably just stand around awkwardly and confused.

( Edited 14.11.2012 17:39 by Guest )

Senior ModeratorStaff Member

The game itself has fairly normal themes, just the branding and how you play that seems suggestive really, or more so that "munching an apple".

Still, I think it should have been rated at least a 15 to keep angry mums and clueless tabloids quiet.

Cubed3 Admin/Founder & Designer
Kupalov (guest) 03.03.2011 14:05#4

The fact is: nobody has played the game, but everybody has judged it based on a marketing campaign (in fact, a single YouTube video).
The VSC has looked at the game itself and judged that nothing merits a higher rating. This means that 12-year-olds can play this game, as there's very little sexual content ('mild innuendo'Smilie in it.
But the marketing sells it as something much stronger, and people evidently take offense to the possible scenario that is suggested. An age rating however, cannot take a marketing campaign into account because it would no longer be reflecting what the game actually contains.

Senior ModeratorStaff Member

Kupalov (guest) said:
The fact is: nobody has played the game, but everybody has judged it based on a marketing campaign (in fact, a single YouTube video).
The VSC has looked at the game itself and judged that nothing merits a higher rating. This means that 12-year-olds can play this game, as there's very little sexual content ('mild innuendo') in it.
But the marketing sells it as something much stronger, and people evidently take offense to the possible scenario that is suggested. An age rating however, cannot take a marketing campaign into account because it would no longer be reflecting what the game actually contains.

That's a good point. Obviously I have only based my judgement on the marketing compaign too. Still, the actions the actors in the video did are obviously the intended ways to play the minigames(?) in the game. Why else would they do them otherwise? I agree with jb - the rating should have been a little higher to play things safe.

Cubed3 Staff :: Senior Editor
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I think they should follow board games similar to this idea and clearly label the product for adults. Right now, the subtitle is "Flirty fun for everyone" while I think it should be "Flirty fun for adults" (obviously less catchy, but it identifies the product's target).

Edit: Actually, it's "Flirty fun for all". That's not even catchy. Just change all to adults.

( Edited 03.03.2011 15:05 by PMD )

PMD said:
"promotes orgies and lesbian sex to kids as young as 12!"

That quote should be on the front cover. But seriously, this game is probably only as naughty as the people playing it, so even if 12 year olds did play it, they would probably just stand around awkwardly and confused.

Aren't this generations kids sluts anyway?

JAB (guest) 03.03.2011 19:22#8

One of the bizarre side-effects of universal censorship is that some things will inevitably receive a categorization that goes against the common-sense interpretation of the material. The reason is that, to try to guarantee objectivity, standards boards are forced to try to codify what is appropriate and inappropriate into a system of rules, and their standards are inevitably imperfect.

This is a clear case in which common sense provides a better understanding of the game than the ratings system. Another easy example would be a motion controlled game that tells players "Now spin in place as fast as you can for 10 minutes!" No inappropriate content, but probably a bad idea in real life.

Jamie (guest) 03.03.2011 19:22#9

Theres nothing in the game that requires an age rating higher than what it recieved. If a ratings board is inflating a rating based on the press its not doing its job correctly. If you posted a video of a girl stripping off an item of clothing everytime mario collected a star in mario galaxy should mario galaxy age rating be increased, no. People need to show some maturity, kids are not going to do anything they wouldn't already do when playing a game like truth or dare.

Not a journalist. (guest) 04.03.2011 14:09#10

It's already out! It cam out yesterday! Not "Later this year".

In the UK? It's listed as an 11th March release everywhere, which would be next Friday. Smilie

Ubisoft are crap for making a game meant for young adults which blatantly uses cartoon based characters to sell it.

PEGi are consistently crap, and their reaction towards this is a prime example as to why.

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