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Assassin's Creed

AC Regulation

Livingstone and Lunt

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Assassin's Creed exemplifies the industry friendly, consumer orientated, approach to video game regulation, whilst also highlighting the underlying problems that such an approach presents in terms of the ease with which vulnerable audiences can easily access problematic material. 


Ubisoft, like all of the console oriented software producers, self-certify content using the PEGI age rating system. The Assassin's Creed Liberation 18 rating is achieved as a result of its graphic depictions of violence, and, more importantly, as a result of gameplay in which innocent characters are killed. Both features are explicitly outlined by PEGI as suitable for 18+ players only. The scope of this problematic content is exemplified by the San Danje rescue mission where Aveline is required to kill unsuspecting guards in order to progress the narrative. 


Much like other UK-based regulatory bodies, the PEGI European gaming regulator seeks, principally, to protect vulnerable audiences and to advise parents of potentially problematic content. The ease with which such regulations can be sidestepped through the downloading of content online suggests the underlying problems of such an approach in the UK. 


UK research also suggests that users further bypass these restrictions by accessing pirated software or by asking older siblings to make game purchases. 


It is clear that a robust regulatory code exists - albeit one that seeks, principally, to protect vulnerable audiences, but as Livingstone and Lunt’s research suggests the effectiveness of that industry driven system is problematic.

PEGI

The age rating system used to provide parents and gamers with information regarding game content. PEGI provide age related guidance regarding: violent content/ swearing/ gambling related content/ material that depicts smoking or drug use.

Media terminology used

Citizen based regulation

A regulatory systems that outline a civic role for the media - encouraging media producers to make content that contributes to social and cultural health of the societies in which they operate. This might be achieved by setting quotas for certain types of programming or by closely monitoring content to ensure that it doesn't cause harm or offense.

Vulnerable audiences

Livingstone and Lunt suggest that the principle function of the independent bodies that regulate the UK's media is to protect children and other vulnerable groups from the harmful affects of media content. The limited protections offered to wider audiences by these bodies is widely criticized.

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