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Industry must unite to make PEGI work

No screaming headlines, no fights, just the Government making a correct decision. Happy days.

As the dust continues to settle on a consultation process that took many months to reach its definitive conclusions about video game classification in the UK, all parties should be proud of themselves.

The Government listened and took its time. The UK games industry responded professionally, and an enhanced PEGI system for age ratings – to be backed by law – appears the best solution by far.

No one could really argue with it, which is why over the past week and a half, no one really has.

Even Tanya Byron, speaking at the recent Digital Safety conference, offered her support to a system following many of the recommendations made in her original Bryon Review way back in March 2008.

The ELSPA Board has worked patiently and diligently for many months. It has helped to rebuild many things, from ISFE (PEGI) resource to the Government’s trust in the games business.

And given that this whole affair started as such a wild storm, it must be hoped that the industry remembers and respects those who helped steer a course to calm waters.

The future of game classification was never a fight for victory between groups or organisations. It was more important than that.

This was about setting up a system that is correct, economic and enforceable.

And the key thing about the findings in the Digital Britain report, as ELSPA director general Michael Rawlinson wisely points out in an exclusive MCV  interview next week, is that PEGI is “the right decision for child safety.”

Process must now be followed. Boxes may even start carrying the new ratings and colour codings within a matter of weeks, as ISFE told MCV. The legal back-up will take until 2010, but it will come.

So let’s hope that the rest of the games industry will now be as diligent as the ELSPA Board.

We must all strive, in our own way, to keep the current momentum of an ‘orderly marketplace’.

This is an evolving entertainment business that is understood and highly regarded by the Government.

Let’s keep it that way.

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