Skip to main content
If you click on a link and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. Read our editorial policy.

Activision shoots self in foot

Dark blue icons of video game controllers on a light blue background
Image credit: Eurogamer

According to a report in the Canadian newspaper "Globe And Mail" yesterday, Activision has decided to appeal against the recent decision by British Columbia to classify "Soldier of Fortune" as the equivalent of an adult movie, preventing anyone under the age of 18 from renting or buying the game. A representative from Activision complained that "the action of the Film Classification board undermines consumers' rights of freedom and choice of expression and sets a precedent for government censorship".

Which is all well and good, except that the ESRB, widely supported by the gaming industry, has itself rated the game as only suitable for people over the age of 17. Developers Raven have repeatedly said that the game was designed for adults, and their lead artist once described it as "the most realistically violent game that, to my knowledge, has ever been done". For Activision to then complain that rating their game 18 in British Columbia on the grounds that it is realistic and violent "undermines consumer freedom", whilst accepting a 17+ rating from the ESRB, is two faced to say the least.

Unlike the Canadian decision, the ESRB ratings are not legally enforceable. By protesting the decision, Activision is sending a clear message to politicians that they consider the ESRB ratings to be rubbish, and that despite consistent claims from both the developer and publisher of "Soldier of Fortune", they really do want to sell this ultra-violent title to young children. Now that is what I call setting a dangerous precedent which could lead to government censorship...

Read this next