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BBFC has "significant advantages" over PEGI, says CMS report

Government prefers BBFC for videogame classification duties in the UK, hybrid system with PEGI not workable

With the publication today of a CMS Select Committee report covering the issue of videogame classification in the UK, the government has said that the BBFC has "significant advantages" over the European PEGI system.

Consumer recognition of the British Board of Film Classification ratings system – already widely understood in the movie entertainment business – is more appealing than the current PEGI scheme.

"The widespread recognition of the BBFC’s classification categories in the UK and their statutory backing offer significant advantages which the PEGI system lacks," noted the report.

"BBFC classifications are already recognised in statute; and, significantly, the BBFC logos are already understood and recognised by consumers, including parents who may not be familiar with games content but who can relate the logos to classification of film content."

The Entertainment Retailers Association also backs the BBFC, suggesting it would require less consumer education to make it effective.

Back in March, Tanya Byron's government-backed report suggested that the BBFC and PEGI could work together to rate games, but the latest paper the CMS Select Committee concludes that a hybrid system “may not command confidence in the games industry and would not provide significantly greater clarity for consumers.”

The CMS Select Committee paper concludes: "We therefore agree that the BBFC should continue to rate games with adult content and should have responsibility for rating games with content appropriate only for players aged 12 or above, and that these ratings should appear prominently."

The paper's findings will no doubt disappoint publishers and the Entertainment and Leisure Software Publisher's Association in the UK.

Microsoft, Electronic Arts, Ubisoft, Nintendo and Sega has all been vocal in their support for PEGI, as has ELSPA.

Regardless of current loyalties within the games industry, the government's plans for videogame ratings is ongoing, with a four month consultation process continuing, and full proposals for reform expected in early 2009.

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