The Regulatory, Ethical and Legal Constraints

Cyber Security

Cyber security is the critical protection and confidentiality of all systems, networks and data in cyberspace. Cyber security continues to become more important as more and more devices, with the addition of games, are connected to the internet.


Censorship is the control of speech, public communication or other information which may be considered harmful or sensitive as determined by the government, media outlets and authorities.

In relation to film and games, many have certain sections or elements removed / edited in relation to regional ratings, whilst also are only allowed to be purchased and played by people found to be of age.

Example Ratings for Games

All games boxed and sold in Europe, including the UK, require a Pan European Game Information (PEGI) rating.  These are decided using the following criteria:

  • PEGI 3+ games won’t have a violence descriptor but may contain “Tom and Jerry” slapstick violence if it is not considered disturbing.
  • PEGI 7+ games flagged with a violence descriptor may include “non-realistic violence towards fantasy characters” or “implied violence”. (294 occurrences in 2013)
  • PEGI 12+ will have the Violence descriptor to signpost “violence towards human like characters” but this must be non-realistic so that bodies don’t remain when killed. This may also include violent sports like boxing providing there is no blood. (262 occurrences in 2013)
  • PEGI 16+ games are flagged for “violence towards human characters” who react to being shot as they would in real life. This will often include blood and bodies will remain once they are dead. (211 occurrences in 2013)
  • PEGI 18+ games are flagged for including violence towards humans that may make you “wince” or your “stomach churn”. This includes gross depictions of heads, arms, and legs being removed by way of chain-saw or shotgun. It also includes sexual violence such as rape and mass killings of civilians. (149 occurrences in 2013), 2013

Example Ratings for Film / TV

Age ratings for film / TV in the UK are decided by the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC), assigned using the following criteria linked below:


Environmental Policies

An environmental policy is an agreement on by a company, including businesses within the games / visual effects industry, on their stance towards the environment in which it operates.

The policy is in places with the intention to reduce their personal carbon footprint, improve recycling, reduce reliance on packaging, minimising waste and improve efficiency.

Pixel Gypsy

It is well documented that within the VFX industry, people / employees often  have to move around from location to location following wherever companies go to enable them to continue working. As a result, they are usually never able have a settled personal life as they are always on the move, hense the nickname “Pixel Gypsy”.

Government Subsidies

A subsidy is a benefit given by the government to businesses / individuals usually in the form of a cash payment or tax reduction. Politics often play an important part in subsidisation.

This is a problem found in the visual effects industry.  Companies will be constantly chasing subsidies and moving all their staff to do so (Pixel Gypsies). This is an ongoing controversy / issue in the industry and with complaints that nothing has been done about it till this day.

Fixed Bid Contracts

Fixed Bid Contracts is an agreement where a firm price has been set in completion of a project.  In relation to VFX, an agreement will be in place for a price for a number of shots.

Fixed bid contracts have become, and continue to be a problem in the industry and it’s the main reason why Rhythm & Hues, creators of Life of Pi, went bankrupt.  Where a price had been agreed for R&H to complete a number of shots, Life of Pi director Ang Lee kept asking for shots to be re-done as they were not what he required.  As a result, cost continued to escalate when paying their staff to a point where the they went bankrupt, a week after the films release.


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