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ELSPA: Govt has made "absolutely the right decision"

Publisher body pleased that PEGI and Video Standards Council system gets backing in Digital Britain report

ELSPA has released a statement supporting the government's decision to back the PEGI ratings system over the BBFC's classifications of videogames in the UK.

The long-standing uncertainty, which began following the release of the Byron Report over a year ago, has finally ended with the news that the Digital Britain report will implement an enhanced PEGI system with a "strong statutory layer of regulation".

"The Government has made absolutely the right decision for child safety," said ELSPA's director general, Mike Rawlinson. "By choosing PEGI as the single classification system in the UK, British children will now get the best possible protection when playing videogames either on a console or on the internet. Parents can be assured that they will have access to clear, uniform ratings on games and an accurate understanding of game content.

"Today's decision will ensure that games ratings stay relevant and adapt to the changing nature of videogames for many years to come. Retailers will now have clear, legal backing to help them prevent access to unsuitable content by children.

"We will work closely with the Government, the Video Standards Council and the BBFC to ensure a smooth and rapid transition to this new ratings system."

The decision ends months of dispute between PEGI and the BBFC over which system was the most appropriate for the protection of children, with the latter arguing that its long-standing numerical symbols had the best chance of enabling parents to understand potentially risky content.

That argument has been thrown out in favour of PEGI, although a new set of symbols will be drawn up for the UK with five age ratings.

Meanwhile, Simon Little, MD of European publisher body ISFE, added: "This decision by the British government to adopt PEGI as the single ratings system for videogames in the UK will give British children the same protection whether they are playing at home or online, as children in 28 countries across Europe.

"PEGI meets the criteria set out by Professor Byron in her review and has also been further updated to take into account developments in new technology as gameplaying moves increasingly online and becomes increasingly interactive. It is a robust system which protects children online and offline. We will continue to ensure that PEGI remains the most relevant and effective system for helping parents, guardians, teachers and retailers to protect children both now and in the future."