VSC: PEGI introduction is "important moment"

Move is huge victory for child safety and games industry, says Rawlinson

Video Standards Council director general Laurie Hall has called the passing of the Digital Economy Act, which makes PEGI solely responsible for classifying games, an important moment that will strengthen child protection.

The bill was given Royal Assent this afternoon, meaning that PEGI - overseen by the VSC - will become the legal age rating system for games in the UK during the next Parliament.

"This is an important moment for video games classification in the UK. The Act creates a new, improved, single system for age-rating all games using the PEGI system. It gives new powers to the VSC as the sole rating agency for games and this will strengthen child protection on the Internet," said Hall.

“Using the PEGI system for all games offers strong, Europe-wide protection for children and their parents when choosing games. It gives all game players clearer information on the age suitability of games. It creates a flexible, future-proof rating system which can adapt to the changing nature of games and the increasingly online playing environment."

Trade association ELSPA also commented on the move today, following its backing of the campaign to abolish the BBFC system in favour of PEGI.

"This is a huge victory for child safety, ELSPA and the games industry. It is the culmination of a two and a half year campaign based on hard work, commitment and determination," said ELSPA's Michael Rawlinson.

"At the beginning of the campaign no-one gave us a chance of success following the initial Byron Review and the DCMS Select Committee findings - both of which preferred the sole classification of videogames to be awarded to the BBFC.

"A combination of a highly skilled political strategy coupled by the commitment of our board and members has seen us claim a victory against all the odds."

"Age rating is absolutely essential for all games and UK government worked hard with the computer games industry to get a system in place that can work for all consumers," added chairman Andy Payne.

"This is now law and means we can move on to the next pressing areas for political engagement - namely consultation on the tax breaks, greater integration of the education system and the computer games industry and IP protection.

"We look forward to working with the UK government and the games industry with the same proactive approach."

The controversial Digital Economy bill was passed through Parliamentary wash-up yesterday. It includes a range of measures designed to tackle internet piracy and copyright breaches, as well as the PEGI ratings system adoption.

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