Esport Age Classifications
How video games are classified in New Zealand
Under the Films, Videos, and Publications Classification Act 1993, video and computer games can be classified and have age restrictions placed on them in the same way as films, DVDs and other publications. For example, if a game has been classified R18 with a note ‘contains violence’, the violence in the game has been judged to be as strong as the violence in an R18 DVD or film with the same note.
However, the legislation around these labels are only required for video games that are being displayed to the public (For example at your local Warehouse or EB Games). Many esport titles such as League of Legends that don’t sell physical copies in stores therefore have not been rated in New Zealand.
You can learn more about how games are classified in New Zealand by visiting the Classification Office Website
How does the NZESF clasify games?
Due to the inconsistencies of game ratings in New Zealand, the New Zealand Esports Federation website shows ratings by the Entertainment Software Rating Board ESRB – These ratings are often internationally recognised and are classified using a robust criteria framework that appropriately accounts for the context in which video games are consumed.
What do the ESRB ratings mean?
You can find details on the difference between an E (Everybody), T (Teen) and all other ratings on the ESRB Ratings Guide
Should I let my child play a game with a rating higher/lower than their age?
While the ESRB is a great resource for helping you understand the mature themes and content within a video game, you should feel comfortable with restricting or allowing your childs play based on your own beliefs or values. It has been substantially proven that the simulated fantasy themes in video games such as use of weapons does not transfer into the real world or lead to increased agression or violence, on the contrary, video games can be a great medium to satisfy your childs curiosity in a safe and controlled way.
Ultimately, nobody knows your child as well as you do and you need to make the decision on whether you are comfortable with your child experiencing or interacting with any mature themes.