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VR could change the way games are rated

2 min read

Rated T for Trauma

VR is poised to change the way we play games in the coming years. I’m not a fan of all VR experiences, mostly because some of them really do make me feel queasy, but I did have two absolutely stellar face-on times with PlayStation VR that convinced me just how fun and immersive the gameplay could be. However, it’s that very immersion that might change the way games are rated once VR is released in the wild.

Shuhei Yoshida recently commented that a new ratings system might be needed for games that could cause trauma. This might seem like an exaggeration, but VR could cause such instances. When playing a horrifying game normally, it is easy enough to look away or be snapped out of the immersion. Sure, games can be gripping and realistic, but the fact that what you’re viewing is clearly displayed on a screen can keep players grounded in reality.

In VR, often the only way to block out what is happening is by closing one’s eyes. Looking away just deepens the immersion as everywhere you look the virtual version of reality is reenforced. In a game like London Heist I was genuinely convinced the one character was going to put his cigarette out on me, and during the Kitchen demo, I felt genuine horror. If these are just launch games or experiences, imagine the depths of creation that we could see in the form of horror or reenactments that could cause real horror and trauma for some players.

Speaking to MCV, PEGI operations director said:

PEGI should examine the coming wave of VR products using the current questionnaire, but reserve the right to reassess certain elements – more specifically the criteria around fear (currently rated PEGI 7) and horror (as in non-violent scary imagery, currently rated PEGI 12) – once a broader range of products hits the market in the coming period of time.

I’m glad that there will be a reassessment of the ratings system for VR experiences; if PEGI does it, I’m sure the other ratings groups will follow suit. Due to the nature of the technology, it is even more difficult for parents to monitor the media their kids would be consuming in VR and a tougher rating system could be necessary. Even adults could benefit from fair warning about just how scary an experience could be – I’m serious, that Kitchen demo made grown men cower.

Last Updated: November 20, 2015


  1. Ottokie

    November 20, 2015 at 11:37

    So next up Matty is playing Five nights at Freddy’s in VR?


    • RinceThis

      November 20, 2015 at 12:05



    • Grand Admiral Chief SpaceNinja

      November 20, 2015 at 12:24

      TO THE TOP!
      [features comment]


      • Hammersteyn

        November 20, 2015 at 12:43

        Beat me to it


  2. Kromas untamed

    November 20, 2015 at 11:41

    Games ratings. Almost as useless as E-Tolls. 🙂


  3. Original Heretic

    November 20, 2015 at 11:47

    I think ratings might start becoming more relevant as we get more generations of gamers spawning their own little gamers to take on the virtual hordes that might come their way. I know from my gaming experiences and being a huge fan of horror games, I don’t want my lad playing those until he’s WAAAAAAAAYYY older.


  4. WitWolfy

    November 20, 2015 at 11:55

    The first game I’ll ever play when I eventually get a VR headset is P.T…. It’s gonna blow the epicness out of the water.


    • Greylingad[CNFRMD]

      November 20, 2015 at 12:15

      or water through something else…


  5. RinceThis

    November 20, 2015 at 12:05

    What’s the point of ratings when hick parents buy their hick kids games that are rater 18+?


  6. Darren Peach

    November 20, 2015 at 12:22

    I hope VR is as good as it should be. I really hope so.


    • BacchusZA

      November 20, 2015 at 12:59

      It won’t be, not at release.

      But it is looking like it’ll finally be good *enough*.

      And it’s going to get a LOT better, and in not too long a time frame. Exciting times await 😀


      • Darren Peach

        November 20, 2015 at 13:03

        I remember the effect Toy Story 1 had on my life. It inspired me into a career in 3d. It was truly a momentous change in the world. I am hoping VR has that same sort of magnitude in it’s impact.


  7. Darren Peach

    November 20, 2015 at 12:25

    If immersion is a concern, They should have a rubber pink chicken appear periodically.


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