Friday 18 November 2005/... ELSPA (Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers Association), the industry body for the UK computer and video games business, today announced that its director general, Roger Bennett, will retire at the end of July 2006 after more than 16 years' service.
Bennett, who has run ELSPA day-to-day since 1989, is recognised as a key player in the development of the UK computer and video games industry, overseeing many changes and initiatives as the industry has grown into a £2 billion annual business. These include the introduction in 1994 of the UK's first Voluntary Age Rating System; the games charts; the commissioning of annual industry reports; the development of a new Constitution for the industry's European representative body in Brussels, ISFE, to which he also helped initiate and deliver PEGI, the Pan-European Game Information age rating system.
Bennett has also been instrumental in driving relations with government, demonstrating the economic and cultural impact and importance of games. He oversaw the development of new and innovative events such as the ELSPA International Games Summit and the Edinburgh Interactive Entertainment Festival (EIEF) with TIGA (The Independent Game Developers Association). In addition he secured a successful strategy against the illegal copying and distribution of games, founding ELSPA's Anti Piracy Unit.
On his retirement next year, Bennett commented: "Having been in the industry since 1985 and at ELSPA virtually since it formed, the last 16 years have been a helter-skelter ride of continuous challenges and shared hopes and aspirations for the industry. Now, finally, perhaps there is a greater sense of confidence for the future as another milestone is reached, with a new, exciting generation of games systems due at the end of this year and into 2006. I therefore believe the middle of 2006 is as good time as any to hand over the baton. Of course I will miss working with ELSPA hugely."
He continued: "No doubt the challenges to be faced by ELSPA will intensify as the industry becomes recognised as being at the cutting edge of screen entertainment. It's been a wonderful experience and I feel extremely lucky to have worked in such a vibrant industry with so many for so long. Still, there is much to be done even over the next seven months in which I'll continue to work hard on behalf of the friends and colleagues I have come to know so well in my time in the games industry."
Andy Payne, head of Just Flight and Mastertronic and chairman of the ELSPA Board said: "It is quite simply, the end of an era. Roger has been an exceptionally loyal servant to the industry and he will be missed. I think all who have worked with Roger will wish him the very best and I am sure he will be ready to take up a new challenge within the industry as his skills, contacts and vast experience are second to none."
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About ELSPA - http://www.elspa.com
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.