BBFC to rate all 12-plus games
PEGI still to have a role with under-12 titles, and the two must work together for online ratings
The British Board of Film Classification will rate all videogame titles for players over the age of twelve, under new plans unveiled this morning by Dr Tanya Byron in her government review on internet and game safety for children.
Under her proposals, backed unanimously by DCMS Minister Andy Burnham and DCSF Minister Ed Balls, the UK film censor's well-known symbols will be on the front of all game boxes for games rated '12', '15' and '18'.
At the same time PEGI will continue to rate all other games for children – '3+' and '7+' – with its symbols on the back of boxes.
The two ratings systems should work together, says Byron, to regulate the online gaming space, with plans for a new online system agreed between the two bodies by Spring 2009 and put into effect by 2010.
The changes would still see PEGI rating the majority of videogames in the UK, as most titles would fall below the requirements for a '12' rating.
PEGI will also make the initial decision as to what titles would need to be passed on to the BBFC for further classification.
While the move will be seen by many as a firm backing of the BBFC, and a rebuff to PEGI, a source close to the Byron Review told GamesIndustry.biz that the Review team had a lot of respect for the PEGI system, and was keen to see it remain a part of the UK ratings picture moving forward.
The Byron Review changes will need to be rubber-stamped by Parliament, but the expectation is that there will be no significant alterations made to the recommendations.