Byron review consultation presents industry with most important
issues in a generation
Industry wishes to work with government for major awareness
campaign to support PEGI
Tuesday 8th July/...The UK video game industry today called on Government to support a single games age ratings system in Europe to protect children. ELSPA (the Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers Association) Director General Paul Jackson said that the adoption of the PEGI (the Pan European Games Ratings Information) system was the single most important decision the UK industry has faced in a generation.
Speaking to MPs, civil servants and media at the Westminster Media Forum in Whitehall, Jackson said that the Government must play its part in recognising the importance of the decisions made in the wake of the Byron Review, the review of computer and video games carried out by Dr Tanya Byron.
At the same time, noting ELSPA’s commitment to the Review and the Government’s Consultation period, Jackson added that the video games industry in the UK was ready to work with Government on a PEGI public awareness strategy.
“For the games industry, when we talk about child protection, we talk about PEGI. PEGI is the solution for today, and the solution for tomorrow,” said Jackson.
He went on: “PEGI represents the “gold standard” today, and will undoubtedly be the best system for tomorrow. PEGI is clearly the only ratings system which has the power to prevent game publishers distributing unsuitable content to children, online and offline.
“Only PEGI fully assesses all games content. It is designed specifically for interactive software. It understands games and their potential for infinite variations. That’s why it is backed by the vast majority of the computer games industry. “
Jackson applauded the work of the Byron Review, noting that the only criticism the games industry had was that it did not go far enough.
“Whether speaking on issues such as the educational benefits, the need for a parental awareness campaign or better efforts to protect and inform children at the point of sale, it was clear that Dr Byron ‘gets it’. However, my only complaint is that some of her recommendations didn’t go far enough. The industry is moving online and about to undergo huge change.”
Jackson said that it was therefore essential that “that there be a sole classification system which protects both now and in the future, both online and off line”.
Importantly, Jackson said that the games industry also understands it responsibility to educating the public about the PEGI ratings system and pledged support for discussions with Government.
“People are not stupid and shouldn’t be treated as such. When they see an 18 roundel on a box, they know what it means, regardless of the current classifier.
Nevertheless, it is essential that the public has confidence in any ratings administrator.
“The industry in the UK wants to work with Government to devise and implement a strong, detailed PEGI awareness strategy. We want to reach, not just children, but also parents and the wider game-playing community,” he added.
Senior leaders of the UK and European video games industry also added their support the calls to action by ELSPA.
David Yarnton, UK General Manager of Nintendo, said: “The PEGI age ratings system is favoured by Nintendo. It has the ability to assess and rate all game content and does not rely on a sample of game play to form its decisions. The fact that there is also an EC proposal for member states to adopt PEGI only adds further weight to the solid arguments and facts for its UK adoption as the sole system of choice for games ratings.”
Rob Cooper, Managing Director of Ubisoft UK, said: “The PEGI system is future proof. It’s as simple as that. It is a self-regulation system that is operated by experts that are best qualified and experienced to do the job. As an international business selling games across the World, we urge Government to understand the depth of importance of this decision as we enter a period in which games will grow exponentially.”
Mike Hayes, President and CEO of Sega Europe, said: “If you look at the PEGI system against the film ratings board in the UK, you will see that PEGI is the only system that has the power to prevent games publishers distributing unsuitable content to children. It can ban a publisher’s entire output, rather than just a single title. This power is backed by the entire industry.”
Keith Ramsdale, Vice President and General Manager of EA UK, Ireland and Nordics, said: “The Government’s proposed changes will create extra administration and cause delays in getting hit games into the hands of British consumers. Only PEGI is built to address the fast changing nature of the games industry and is best placed to deliver the needed protection for minors.”
ELSPA (the Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers Association) is the trade association for video games publishers in the UK. ELSPA was formed in 1989 to establish a specific and collective identity for the country’s video games industry and has grown to its current membership to almost 60 companies.
ELSPA works to protect, promote and provide for its members’ interests via a number of activities including anti-piracy enforcement, research, sales charts and reports and political lobbying. It also ensures its members publish games which are responsibly age-rated with the pan-European PEGI ratings system to ensure parents can make informed choices when purchasing games for their children. ELSPA also helps organise a number of key gaming events in the UK including the annual London Games Festival, staged every October. For more information, visit www.elspa.com.
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