Monday, November 17, 2014

Labeling Gender Biased Games...In Sweden

Dataspelsbranchen, the gaming trade organization in Sweden, is considering an addition to their current ratings system that would label games produced in the country as to whether or not they promote gender equality. An ESRB edition for gender issues, in essence.

The government has already issued a grant to the group to begin studying how Swedish video games and developers portray female characters and handle gender issues. Avoiding sexism and gender stereotypes is a goal that the Dataspelsbranchen's wants to achieve for future titles. As of now this is all hypothetical as to whether or not all games will be labeled or if only the games that promote gender equality will receive a special seal. This may only lead to a study by the group - I'd imagine that trying to pass new laws within the organization to add the additional labels would be a large hurdle. This is also assuming that there aren't laws in place by the government beyond Dataspelsbranchen's reach. It's still a world first for any country to consider gender issues in video games.

Their goal is not to infringe on creativity. The group wants developers to do what they do best, but to also consider how their actions with female and non-white male characters can create hostile environments for new gamers.

Interesting...but I have a feeling this will fizzle out before it's completed. The study may follow through but to implement additions to label new games is not as simple as a yes or no. Not when you have an established system in place and a load of developers to deal with.


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