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ELSPA continues to back PEGI for UK ratings

Body says BBFC will confuse consumers, but welcomes four month public consultation period

The Entertainment and Leisure Software Association has said that it agrees that only one ratings body should classify games in the UK, however, it still believes PEGI is the system best equipped to protect consumers from inappropriate content.

A paper published today by the the Department of Culture, Media and Sport concludes that the British Board of Film Classification is better suited to the role, citing consumer awareness of the ratings system currently used for movies as one of its strongest advantages over the PEGI system.

"Whilst we respect the decision that the Select Committee has come to, neither we nor the games industry, which we represent, think it adequately covers the key recommendations of the Byron Review, specifically in relation to the protection of children," commented Michael Rawlinson, MD of ELSPA.

"We believe that the recommendation by the select committee that the BBFC be the single rating system offers no additional protection to children, may increase confusion between films and interactive games, and potentially will incur increased costs to the industry.

"We are also concerned that it does not fully address the scope for the exponential growth of and increasing internationalisation of online gaming, further exposing British children to potential risk," he added.

While government support for the BBFC is a blow to ELSPA and publishers including Nintendo, Microsoft, EA, Ubisoft and Sega – all of which have stood by PEGI – the current four month consultation period into videogames ratings has been welcomed by all involved.

ELSPA is also pleased that the Select Committee has dismissed Tanya Byron's idea of a hybrid system overseen by both the BBFC and PEGI.

"We welcome the public consultation into the proposed changes to the rating system recommended by the Byron Review and look forward to engaging fully in the process," offered Rawlinson.

"Dr Byron's recommendation of an extension of the hybrid, two tier classification system has always, in our opinion, been unworkable. It is now evident that the DCMS Select Committee shares our view."

"PEGI is the only rating system that has the power to prevent games publishers distributing unsuitable content to children if it abuses or misuses the system. It understands and operates in the online world already through the PEGI Online safety code, established with the support of the European commission – it has the highest levels of customer and parental understanding and confidence on and offline in 29 countries," he added.

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