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Avoid disappointment this year – steer clear of sub-standard pirate presents

Thursday 2 December 2004/... Christmas is less than a month away and the annual battle of the festive gift-shopping spree has commenced. To ensure that everyone has a merry Christmas and is not disappointed by any of their presents (although it accepts no responsibility for hand-knitted reindeer jumpers), ELSPA (Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers Association) has provided a simple buyers' guide for computer and video games.

Roger Bennett, director general of ELSPA, says: "It's all too easy to be fooled by pirates offering a supposed bargain to make your Christmas budgets stretch further, but it very often proves to be false economy with poor quality, inadequate purchases which lead to Christmas morning misery. ELSPA advises buyers to stick to shopping within the usual retail and online outlets."

Ten top tips for avoiding Christmas disappointment:


  • Buy unboxed games from market stalls or individuals - they may be counterfeit and pirated software can cause damage to PCs and consoles.
  • Be taken in by implausibly cheap prices - chances are the games are incomplete and missing key elements.
  • Buy a number of different games from different companies on one disc - these are highly likely to be counterfeit and may well not feature all the games stated.
  • Buy games that don't have an official PEGI age rating - age ratings are provided to give the purchaser essential information on the suitability of that game for the intended user.


  • Buy games from reputable high street stores or online retailers.
  • Buy games with the appropriate age rating for the user - an 18 rated game is not suitable for someone younger.
  • Make sure it's authentic - products that come without any documentation, manuals or have the title handwritten on a sleeve or CD label are very likely to be counterfeit.
  • Check that the game will work on the user's computer or console - it is frustrating to open up that much-wanted game and then to realise you can't play it because your PC's not up to it or it's for the wrong console.
  • Get a receipt - if you don't get one you can't take it back if there is anything wrong with it. If they won't give you one, it's definitely dodgy product.
  • Report suspected piracy - call the ELSPA Piracy Hotline in confidence on 08705 133405.

Bennett added: "Hopefully, these tips will help to ensure that everybody is delighted with their Christmas gifts and that kids and adults alike have a fun-filled festive season playing their favourite computer and video games."


About ELSPA -

ELSPA (The Entertainment & Leisure Software Publishers Association) was founded in 1989 to establish a specific and collective identity for the computer and video games industry. Membership includes almost all companies concerned with the publishing and distribution of interactive leisure software in the UK.

ELSPA's activities include: Official Chart and Industry Reports, Anti-Piracy UK and EU, PR and Communication, Events. More information on all these activities can be found at

The UK Interactive Leisure Software Industry - Facts & Figures from ELSPA/Screen Digest/Chart-Track:

  • The UK is a world centre for games development.
  • In 2003, UK sales of video games, other leisure software products and games consoles topped £2 billion, for the second year running.
  • Over 20,000 people are employed in the UK leisure software sector.
  • The British games industry generated £494m of exports in 2003. 33% of all PS2 games bought in Europe originate in the UK (the same proportion as US originated products and ahead of Japan and any other country).

For further information on ELSPA or to arrange interviews, please contact:



Tel: 01462 456780

Fax: 01462 456781

Email: /

Issued by: Barrington Harvey, Trooper's Yard, Bancroft, Hitchin SG5 1JW

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