Radical changes in the way computer games are regulated could be ushered in on Thursday (March 27) when the Government unveils the Byron Review, a study of the impact of films and games on children.
The report, by psychologist and TV presenter Dr Tanya Byron (pictured), is expected to result in an overhaul of the British Board of Film Classifications (BBFC), which could be handed responsibility for approving new games.
The gaming industry hopes that the review will help “legitimise” the sector by making it appear better regulated, although some observers have expressed fears that the Government may present the findings as a “them and us” battle against the industry.
A majority of computer games are exempt from BBFC classification although those depicting violence require approval. Other titles are governed by the Pan European Games Information system, known as PEGI.
There is some feeling in the industry that a beefed up PEGI as a body dedicated to game would be preferable to using the BBFC, which some insiders may struggle to handle the extra workload.
The report will be published on March 27, just days after developer Rockstar was given permission to release the game Manhunt 2, which had previously been banned by the BBFC, with an 18 certificate following a nine-month dispute.