The VSC Rating Board and games trade body Ukie have today announced a renewed partnership in the form of their newly refreshed AskAboutGames site, which will launch online today at EGX.
The two organisations jointly run and fund the online resource, which contains a comprehensive range of information about PEGI age ratings, insights on online safety, family-friendly games advice, and tips on how to utilise parental controls across games devices so as to best manage children's online behaviour.
Used by parents, carers, teachers, government and industry partners alike, the site has long been the go-to place for anyone who has questions about making sense of their children's online behaviour, as well as getting the most out of the games they can enjoy as a family. AskAboutGames exists to ensure families can make informed decisions about what to play and how to play it - ultimately leading to a better - and safer - experience for all.
The investment into the new-look site and upcoming year of activity signals a commitment from the two organisations to continue to work together to promote the VSC's work issuing PEGI ratings on all games released in the UK, to ensure that age appropriate content is reached by consumers in the UK. It also feeds into Ukie's work ahead of the Government's forthcoming Digital Charter, which aims to make 'the UK safest place in the world to be online'.
AskAboutGames comes with all new leadership in the form of veteran games industry journalist, Will Freeman, who is taking up the role of Editor of the site. Will brings a wealth of experience and games industry knowledge to the role, and has an impressive list of freelance experience, having written for The Guardian, The Observer, GI, Vice, Edge and Eurogamer, amongst others.
Will said of his new role: "I'm thrilled to get on board with AskAboutGames for at least two reasons. Firstly, I adore sharing the potential of games with people, and AskAboutGames is a brilliant way of doing just that. Secondly, the diversity of the game medium's content today is perhaps the best thing about it. Just like how the music industry serves and provides forms as distinct as opera and techno, today there's a wild variety of gaming experiences to be enjoyed by a range of very different audiences. It's an exciting time to be involved with games. "That does mean, however, that we have to be careful and responsible in making sure game content is appropriate to the audiences that consume it. Game age ratings are not a matter of stifling or censoring the medium; quite the opposite, in fact. If we can give families, parents and youngsters as much information about games as possible, they can enjoy the best experiences for them, and avoid unsuitable content. That in turn lets games for families enjoy recognition for their positive potential, while allowing games for adults explore adult themes. Knowledge is power, and information about game content gives audiences, industry and games themselves the potential to flourish all the more." Ian Rice, Director General of the VSC Rating Board, added: "Our goal is for parents and carers to be able to make informed decisions when buying games. Supporting AskAboutGames helps us reach a much greater audience, meaning that in this time of heightened concern about eSafety, more parents can be confident they are making the right choices towards keeping their children safe and happy online.
"AskAboutGames has always supported family gaming, which is a concept close to our hearts at the VSC Rating Board. There's no better way to understand why games are so enjoyable than to get stuck in together playing awesome games for all age levels. We're proud to also be able to shine a spotlight on these games on the new AAG site."
Dr Jo Twist OBE, CEO of Ukie, continued: "Making sense of games relies on people being able to access the right information, and knowing how to use it effectively. AskAboutGames is here to ensure that parents, families, educators and more can make informed decisions on how to keep their children safe online, which has always been a top priority for the games industry. The VSC Rating Board and Will are the perfect partners for the project as between them they have a world of knowledge about family-friendly games and PEGI ratings, and we look forward to working together to really promote online health for players of all ages." The VSC Rating Board and Will will be around at EGX at the AskAboutGames stand, on hand to meet people and spread the good word of PEGI ratings and family friendly games advice across the four days of the show.