UK Gov favours PEGI over BBFC for game ratings

Written by Tim Smalley

June 17, 2009 | 16:10

Tags: #britain #classification #digital #ratings #system

Companies: #bbfc #bit-tech #elspa #government #pegi #uk

Following a long and drawn out battle between the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) and the Pan-European Game Information (PEGI) system, the UK Government has decided to back the PEGI classification system for games in the UK.

This means the BBFC ratings will be dropped from game boxes and PEGI will act as the UK's sole ratings authority for video games.

The news came in the UK Government's long awaited Digital Britain report, which was released yesterday and outlined the Government's plans for the future of Britain's digital infrastructure.

"PEGI will give consumers a single set of clear logos for video games that will apply across most of Europe, providing an international solution for game content regulation," read the report. "It has the flexibility required to adapt to the challenge of rapidly-evolving technology in the games sector and will be highly effective in the online world."

The BBFC claimed that a local board would be more in-tune with the needs of British children, while the Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers Association (ELSPA) said that all of Europe should be governed by a single ratings system in order to present clear, uniform ratings across the continent.

Unfortunately for the BBFC, the UK Government said that PEGI combined "the best of a pan-European self regulatory system designed specifically for video games with a strong UK based statutory regulator taking account of the views of the UK public."

In response to the announcement, BBFC was understandably disappointed and maintained that it offered the best safeguard for the British public, but said that it would "co-operate fully" with the legislative changes required to put the new ratings system in place. "We have argued consistently that the games classification system needs to put child protection at its heart," said a BBFC statement. "It needs to involve the provision of full, helpful and carefully weighted information to parents and the public more generally. It must have the power and will to reject of intervene in relation to unacceptable games or game elements."

The BBFC added that it has "always supported PEGI and wished it well, but it continues to believe that it satisfies these requirements better than PEGI."

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