A large majority of video games sold in the UK receive a rating under the voluntary Pan-European Game Information (PEGI) system, but some games, about 6-7% of the total, are referred to the BBFC. In determining what classification to give, the BBFC employs much the same approach as it does to films and DVDs. However, as a medium, video games of course differ from films in a number of ways, and especially in being interactive.
There has been little recent or credible research into the ways video games are distinctive as a medium or into how games may generate different reactions in players than films and DVDs do in viewers.
Many video games involve violent action and some people fear they may desensitise players to violence. Media interest in this subject has been growing. Some research in the US appears to support the hypothesis that playing video games can make people more aggressive. There is some pressure on both sides of the Atlantic for games to be more tightly regulated.
Meanwhile, the technology continues to advance, enhancing interactivity and delivering ever more realistic graphics. The newest developments may complicate the task of classifying games and increase anxiety amongst those who worry about the medium. —BBFC
In order to study people’s concerns about video games, the study breaks parents up into current gamers, former gamers, and never-been-gamers. The study emphasizes marketing, rather than topics that interest me more (such as rhetoric, design, or psychology), but there is some good discussion about playing habits among the different age groups.