Video games chief backs European classification scheme

The UK video games industry has called on the Government to adopt a pan-European age rating system for games instead of handing responsibility to the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC).

Paul Jackson, director general of the Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers Association (ELSPA) told MPs at the Westminster Media Forum that the Pan European Games Ratings Information system (PEGI) was the best method for classifying new titles.

The Government announced a four-month public consultation from July in the wake of the Byron review into the future of gaming. That report by Dr Tanya Byron included proposals such as extending the power of the BBFC to include video games.

But the games industry fears the BBFC will not be able to handle the workload, and does not understand the nuances of the industry.

Jackson says: “PEGI represents the “gold standard” today, and will undoubtedly be the best system for tomorrow.

“Only PEGI fully assesses all games content. It is designed specifically for interactive software. It understands games and their potential for infinite variations. That’s why it is backed by the vast majority of the computer games industry.”

Companies including Ubisoft, Sega and Nintendo have backed ELSPA’s stance. However, PEGI came under fire last week when David Cooke, director of the BBFC described, said it was not clear how the system was administered, describing it as “a couple of blokes in Borehamwood.”

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