ELSPA reveals major concerns over Byron Review

Despite Dr. Tanya Byron’s proposal to use a combination of BBFC and PEGI age classifications, ELSPA has stuck to its guns in demanding one clear rating system as ELSPA director general Paul Jackson revealed his doubts over the recent Byron Review.

He told MCV that:

- The report failed to resolve the confusion over the two ratings systems

- The BBFC is not equipped to handle the flurry of new titles it must classify

- The proposals aren’t ‘future-proof’ enough where games sold over the web and through downloads are concerned

- It should not be down to the industry alone to stump up the cash for a consumer education campaign

“What we think will protect children the best is one age rating across games that are on the shelf and titles that are sold over the internet – and I include digital downloads and online gaming in that,” said Jackson.

“The way the proposals currently stand, there will be a BBFC standard on packaged goods – the number of which will presumably get smaller as gaming goes more online – and there will be the PEGI standard online when you’re downloading. We think it will be clearer if there was one standard.”

Jackson also believes further in-depth consultation is needed to take the proposals forward – starting with how to ‘future-proof’ the ratings system against an increased online focus in the next few years.

“It’s incredibly important that we protect children and to do that we need to future-proof this process, but it’s not quite there yet,” he said.

“The report is very important and has done the industry a lot of good, but we have to be quite firm about this future-proofing issue.”

And the ELSPA director general also dismissed the idea of the industry funding a consumer education campaign on age ratings alone – insisting that it’s not down to the trade to stump up all of the cash.

“I want to make it completely clear that a public marketing programme has been key all along in the educational process. We’ll be talking to the Government about who pays for what. We’re very keen to play our part, but all of the stakeholders needs to step up to the plate.”

- Grab a copy of this week's MCV Magazine for a comprehensive 17-page report on the fallout from the Byron Review.

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Tags: elspa , paul jackson , byron review

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