UNITED NATIONS SIGNS UP TO PEGI ONLINE SYSTEM

           UNHCR voluntarily registers Against all Odds with PEGI Online

                   

          Game highlighting plight of world’s refugees is positive example

                            of care and protection of minors

Monday 30th June/...The Interactive Software Federation of Europe (ISFE) announced today the PEGI Online registration for Against All Odds, a video game created by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). The game, which increases students’ awareness and knowledge about the plight of the world’s refugees, has been given a 7+ rating and is available for download free at www.playagainstallodds.com

Against All Odds places players in a variety of refugee situations to promote understanding particularly amongst children and teenagers.“Against All Odds has proved a very popular online game ever since its launch in 2005,” says Peter Kessler, UNHCR spokesman in London.“Hundreds of thousands of kids learned about the life of refugees by playing this game. Given its popularity, we wanted to make sure that very young children are not exposed to unsuitable content, even though the game is primarily educational and not available for sale. In addition to the PEGI Online logo we display the 7+ rating on the game website,” Kessler declares.

In the UK, ELSPA (Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers Association), was one of the founders of the European industry body ISFE, Its Director General, Paul Jackson said today:“The PEGI Online age ratings system is incredibly important and designed to protect children when playing games online. It is future-proof and has been developed as part of the PEGI age ratings system which is featured on all boxed products released across Europe.

“For us, the UN’s commitment to PEGI Online is clear evidence of the reputation the system has across Europe for helping to protect younger gamers to ensure that they are only playing appropriate games for their age group. The system also ensures parents are empowered to make the right choices for their children when purchasing games in any of 27 countries across Europe.

“We will also be providing a link for downloading Against All Odds on our advice website AskAboutGames.com. This is a game with a social conscience and we are delighted to help promote it.”

Commitment to PEGI Online code of conduct

“The registration of Against All Odds by UNHCR is great news for us,” adds Patrice Chazerand, Secretary General of ISFE.“The game is a wonderful example of how the unparalleled ability of video games to elicit undivided engagement and to foster the acquisition of knowledge through active involvement can be used for educational purposes on a pan-European level. We are therefore delighted that UNHCR has voluntarily registered with PEGI Online, demonstrating its commitment to our Code of Conduct for online game providers. I believe this decision sets a positive example for many other providers of online videogames who care about protecting minors and promoting human rights, but have yet to join PEGI Online”.

PEGI Online, initiated more than a year ago by ISFE, is the extension of PEGI, the Pan European Game Information System. Currently used in 27 countries in Europe and beyond, PEGI protects minors against unsuitable content by helping parents to make informed buying decisions.

Companies that register with PEGI Online (see www.pegionline.eu ) commit themselves to offer only games duly classified by established European rating agencies, to ban inappropriate material from their online gaming sites, to ensure appropriate behaviour among users and to provide effective reporting mechanisms.

For further information on AskAboutGames.com please visit askaboutgames.com.

For more information on ELSPA and IFSE please visit www.elspa.co.uk and www.isfe.eu respectively.

About ELSPA

ELSPA (the Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers Association) is the trade association for video games publishers in the UK. ELSPA was formed in 1989 to establish a specific and collective identity for the country’s video games industry and has grown to its current membership to almost 60 companies.

ELSPA works to protect, promote and provide for its members’ interests via a number of activities including anti-piracy enforcement, research, sales charts and reports and political lobbying. It also ensures its members publish games which are responsibly age-rated with the pan-European PEGI ratings system to ensure parents can make informed choices when purchasing games for their children. ELSPA also helps organise a number of key gaming events in the UK including the annual London Games Festival, staged every October. For more information, visit www.elspa.co.uk.

About ISFE

Established in 1998 and registered in 2002 under Belgian law as an international association with scientific and pedagogical purposes, ISFE (the Interactive Software Federation of Europe) represents the interests of the interactive software sector throughout the 27 EU Member States plus Norway, Iceland, Switzerland and Liechtenstein. Today, ISFE membership comprises 13 major publishers of interactive software as well as 13 interactive software trade associations throughout Europe.

About PEGI

ISFE initiated the Pan European Game Information (PEGI) system (see www.pegi.info) in 2002. Since April 2003, PEGI has been administered independently by the Netherlands Institute for the Classification of Audiovisual Media (NICAM). PEGI provides an age rating recommendation system for videogames intended to inform European parents regarding content that is suitable for their children; As a classification system PEGI supports informed adult choice and does not censor content.

About PEGI Online

Created in 2007, PEGI Online complements the existing PEGI system by creating a trust seal identifying the online game providers committed to the PEGI Online Safety Code. It provides parents with an easy educational tool that allows today’s young people to play safely on the internet and protects them against unsuitable gaming content.

About UNHCR

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees was established on December 14, 1950 by the United Nations General Assembly. The agency, which is almost entirely funded by voluntary contributions, is mandated to lead and co-ordinate international action to protect refugees and resolve refugee problems worldwide. Its primary purpose is to safeguard the rights and well-being of refugees. It strives to ensure that everyone can exercise the right to seek asylum and find safe refuge in another State, with the option to return home voluntarily, integrate locally or to resettle in a third country.

For further information, please go to: www.unhcr.org

Press contacts

ELSPA

Laura West - Account Director Barrington Harvey

Tel: +44 (0) 1462 456780

Email: Laura.west@bhpr.co.uk

ISFE

Katja Mader - Marketing Manager ISFE

Tel: +32 2 513 57 77

Email: katja.mader@isfe.eu

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