Speaking at a fringe event at the Labour Party conference today, ELSPA director general Paul Jackson said that the current UK two-tier classification system was confusing – and that the BBFC “couldn’t cope” with the demands of video games.
Jackson said: “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. It just can’t cope with the infinite variety and complexity of modern video games, and the interaction between players.
“There is a simple proof of this already available. 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.”
Jackson also argued that the PEGI ratings system would be the most suitable to handle the increase in online gaming.
He added: “As well as being quick and simple to follow as a ratings system, it is very easily scalable to cope with the rapid growth in online games and add-ons.”
The Government is currently holding a consuation period, where it is considering alternatives to Dr. Tanya Byron's recommendation of tweaking the PEGI/BBFC hybrid system.