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ELSPA tells Labour: BBFC is not fit for purpose

BBFC is too lenient and downgrades 18-rated games, claims Jackson

ELSPA's Paul Jackson has told the Labour Party that the BBFC is not fit for purpose as a ratings system for videogames in the UK.

The latest in ELSPA's efforts to rubbish the BBFC as a credible ratings board came at a Labour Party Conference fringe event, where Jackson once again claimed the Pan-European Game Information system is better suited to rating games.

"A linear ratings system like the one the BBFC uses is designed for films with a beginning, middle and end where the outcome is always the same," said Jackson.

"It just can't cope with the infinite variety and complexity of modern videogames, and the interaction between players."

Jackson claimed the BBFC is too lenient when it comes to rating games, and that PEGI better understands the growing games business as it incorporates online play and downloadable content.

"The film ratings board continually downgrades games classified 18 by PEGI. They go to BBFC 15 or even BBFC 12. History shows us that BBFC ratings – and the UK – would regularly be out of step with our European neighbours," he said.

The BBFC and ELSPA have been engaged in a war of words since Dr Tanya Byron's report on videogames and interactive media suggested the two outfits should work together to rate videogame releases.

ELSPA has been aggressive in its efforts to push out the BBFC, with members such as Electronic Arts and Microsoft attacking the two-tier proposal.

EA's Keith Ramsdale has claimed that a joint ratings system would delay the release of games in the UK, while Microsoft's Neil Thompson believes that such a move could make games more expensive.

In response, the BBFCs David Cooke has labelled claims the organisation could not cope with the demand of rating games as "absurd".

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Matt Martin


Matt Martin joined GamesIndustry in 2006 and was made editor of the site in 2008. With over ten years experience in journalism, he has written for multiple trade, consumer, contract and business-to-business publications in the games, retail and technology sectors.