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Middle East's Game Industry Creates Islam-Centric Game Ratings

Middle East's Game Industry Creates Islam-Centric Game Ratings

November 30, 2010 | By Leigh Alexander

November 30, 2010 | By Leigh Alexander
More: Console/PC

The Iran National Foundation of Computer Games used the Dubai World Game Expo to stage the unveiling of a new ratings body for the Middle East, which evaluates game content against the values of Islam.

The Entertainment Software Rating Association, or ESRA, will measure violence, substance use and sexuality in games against Islamic values, in line with a system developed by a National Foundation of Computer Games research team.

"The approach of Islam is based on Human being innateness 'Al Fitra', and the most important innate trends are truth, virtue, benevolence, excellence tendency, innovation and creativity," explains the foundation's Dr. Behrouz Minaei.

"That's why we made sure that ESRA team are proficient in these areas; Religion, Psychopathology, Educational psychology, Social psychology, Sociology of the family, Family Sociology, Emotional Psychology, Family therapy and Educational technology."

Minaei and his team also studied other nations' ratings organizations and extrapolated it against their own local culture to define ratings by age. "The rating system is designed based on the culture, society and the special values of Islam," he added.

The announcement also emphasized the importance of a rating system that allows parents to monitor content and "understand its effect on their children's behaviour especially from the social aspect, bearing in mind that the Islamic society is considered a conservative society."

Index Holding, organizer of the Dubai World Expo, encouraged developers to use ESRA ratings, promising to help facilitate communication between the creators of the new content rating system and game developers globally.

"We are keen on encouraging game developers and publishers to use the ESRA system, as it enables publishers to understand the nature of the Islamic society and the different aspects that it emphasizes," said Index's Anas Al Madani.

The Dubai World Game Expo, in its third year, runs from today, November 30 through December 1.

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