According to the paper, the government proposes to adopt a wide-spread classification system for all video games, ultimately putting the medium in line with film.
Also, retailers will be legally required to prevent the sale of games to a child below the recommended age. And finally, the government will make a series of suggestions to parents, which includes keeping games consoles out of the bedroom, so parents can keep an eye on what media their children are consuming.
The proposals made no mention of an increase in the banning of video games, just new restrictions on who can play them.
This should be music to the trade’s ears. At last we’re being treated seriously, with new measures that will only aid in improving the industry’s perception. If the selling of software is properly policed, then maybe the vilification of games by the press will cease. And maybe we’ll see an end to episodes such as the sleep-inducing Manhunt debacle.
Ultimately, if the aftermath of the Byron report is as the Guardian (and indeed MCV) suggests, then I will have no issue in voicing my support for it. A simple, yet effective form of classification, combined with some basic education, is precisely what an army of confused parents need.
How refreshing will it be not to feel threatened by the nanny state, and get back to doing what we do best; creating, selling and playing some spectacular forms of interactive entertainment. Free from sensational and irresponsible headlines and clueless politicians.
In the words of The Guardian:
“Ministers hope the Byron review will act as a way of calming the debate about video games which has become increasingly polarised and based on prejudice.”