SINGAPORE--More video game titles are expected to make their way to local shop shelves, thanks to a new tiered-rating classification system that will be launched end April.
The Board of Film Censors (BFC) of Singapore's Media Development Authority (MDA) announced Monday new video games ratings of Mature 18 (M18) and Age Advisory, which will take effect from Apr. 28.
Games with mature themes, or which contain realistic depictions of violence and drug use, nudity and frequent use of strong coarse language will be classified as M18. Under this restricted category, retailers are required to conduct age checks at the point-of-sale to ascertain that buyers are aged at least 18 years.
Games with the rating Age Advisory, are suitable for those aged 16 years and above. They typically contain a moderate level of violence, portrayal of implied sexual activity, nudity without details, coarse language and depiction of illegal drug use. Age checks would not be compulsory for such games but retailers are encouraged by the MDA to exercise responsibility by not selling them to those below 16.
Both M18 and Age Advisory games will carry rating stickers.
Games that do not fall into those two categories, and are approved for a general audience need not carry rating stickers.
According to the MDA, the classification system was developed over two years and involved "detailed research and extensive consultation with key stakeholders". Those consulted included members of MDA's advisory committees, representatives from the video games distribution and retail sectors, parents, academics and gamers.
Amy Chua, chairman of the BFC, noted that the implementation of age ratings provided a "balanced approach" in enabling more media choice for Singaporeans while protecting the young.
"The new ratings will provide more choices for gamers," said Chua. "The games distribution and retail industry will also benefit from having a rating system that allows it to make available more games targeted at the different groups.
"At the same time, the age-appropriate ratings and consumer advisories will help parents make informed choices about the games their children play," she added.