ELSPA reponds to age ratings consultation period

ELSPA has spoken out today following the DCMS Select Committee report and the launch of the DCSF’s formal government consultation into age rating systems in the UK.

Managing director of ELSPA Michael Rawlinson said of the DCMS Select Committee report:

We agree entirely that there should be a single ratings system for interactive games because it’s the only way that we can ensure that parents understand how videogames ratings protect their children, both on and offline, now and in the future.”

We believe the PEGI ratings system is the only one that truly protects children, understands the interactive nature of rating games and is the only system endorsed by the games industry. It offers a strict classification system, based on international standards and detailed criteria which is scaleable and robust enough to cope with rating the explosion of gaming content that is becoming available online everyday and is the only system that is truly international.”

Whilst we respect the decision that the Select Committee has come to, neither we nor the games industry, which we represent, think it adequately covers the key recommendations of the Byron Review, specifically in relation to the protection of children.”

On the public consultation into age rating, he added:

We welcome the public consultation into the proposed changes to the rating system recommended by the Byron Review and look forward to engaging fully in the process. Dr Byron’s recommendation of an extension of the hybrid, two tier classification system has always, in our opinion, been unworkable. It is now evident that the DCMS Select Committee shares our view.”

However, we believe that the recommendation by the select committee that the BBFC be the single rating system offers no additional protection to children, may increase confusion between films and interactive games, and potentially will incur increased costs to the industry. We are also concerned that it does not fully address the scope for the exponential growth of and increasing internationalisation of online gaming, further exposing British children to potential risk.”

PEGI offers the only ratings system that can fully assess all game content. It currently rates 96% of all games released in the UK as opposed to only 4% which the BBFC assess.”

PEGI is the only rating system that has the power to prevent games publishers distributing unsuitable content to children if it abuses or misuses the system. It understands and operates in the online world already through the PEGI Online safety code, established with the support of the European commission – it has the highest levels of customer and parental understanding and confidence on and offline in 29 countries.”

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