PEGI ratings to begin legal process before Christmas - ELSPA
Update: No Government action expected before end of recess in October; ELSPA prepares for massive education campaign
ELSPA has said that it expects the legal process to enforce PEGI ratings in the UK to begin before Christmas, and the new logos to be placed on packaging in time for the big fourth quarter release window.
Speaking to GamesIndustry.biz, chairman Andy Payne pointed out that the UK Government will go into recess from mid July until October 12, and only when it returns will it begin the process of making the Video Standards Council solely responsible for legally classifying games in the region.
"There's a whole load of things that will need to happen and they are all geared around the political process. In terms of this actually becoming law, it's got to get through Parliament and that will happen but that will take time," offered Payne in an exclusive interview published today.
"Parliament is going into recess and this won't even get looked at before then. In terms of making it absolutely law, and that's the VSC taking over the legislative duties the BBFC has, that won't happen until the autumn at the earliest, and there's a whole load of things that have got to happen before that."
The new coloured PEGI symbols are likely to be included on packaging and advertising just in time for the last part of the year when publishers release their big Christmas blockbusters, said Payne.
"In this political climate I would expect this to be going through due legal process before Christmas and I fully expect the new symbols on boxes for the big major products that are coming out in the fourth quarter," he said.
Following the decision to drop the BBFC and back PEGI in the UK, Payne revealed that ELSPA had originally planned for three outcomes, and although it regards the PEGI option as the most work intensive, the organisation and its members are already mobilised and ready to act.
"We planned for this decision, for the BBFC ruling and another hybrid," detailed Payne. "We had three plans and it was a frantic day getting all our people mobilised.
"We've got our political advisors working on the case, we've got our PRs working on communication and talking to ELSPA members and telling them what it all means. Right now it's all coming together, ELSPA are in full gear. It's about pushing through and using time and energy to get everybody educated."
He added: "The PEGI decision is probably more work for the industry but that's a good thing because when you talk to people, the general public don't understand those age ratings anyway. The work we've got to put in isn't insubstantial but over the period of the next 12 months people will be aware of the new age ratings."
The full interview with ELSPA's Andy Payne can be read here.