Government ratings decision due next week

Labour will announce the new industry standard age classification system on Tuesday next week (June 16th) as part of its Digital Britain report, MCV can reveal.

The news comes 12 months after the publication of the Government’s Byron Review, which recommended that the BBFC’s powers be increased in a hybrid system.

However, a year of consultation with industry followed, in which publishers and ELSPA made their support for a PEGI-led system very clear – rather than the DVD-style BBFC ratings.

MCV understands that the Government originally planned to announce its final ruling separately, but last month agreed to bundle it as part of Digital Britain. The report had previously ‘disappointed’ some industry members for appearing to ignore video games altogether.

Government insiders told MCV that Labour’s final decision was already 99 per cent certain” in March.

The Digital Britain report, headed up by Lord Stephen Carter, aims to ‘secure the UK’s digital future’, and maximise the country’s economic online potential.

When asked if the PEGI/BBFC decision would arrive with Digital Britain’s publication next week, a spokesperson for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport told MCV:

You’d be right in that assumption. It’s not set in stone, but we’re expecting the report to arrive next Tuesday.”

Whichever decision is reached by Government, it is not likely to be put into effect until next year.

Meanwhile, ELSPA today praised the appointment of new Culture Secretary Ben Bradshaw in Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s reshuffled Cabinet.

ELSPA director general Michael Rawlinson told MCV today:

We welcome Ben Bradshaw’s appointment as the new Secretary of State at the DCMS. We are encouraged that Ben’s previous work as a BBC news correspondent will mean he has first-hand knowledge, experience and understanding of the problems facing the creative industries sector.

We look forward to meeting with Ben soon and discussing how our industry can continue to work with the Government to ensure games retain their place as a world leader in the sector.

"We will, of course, also be explaining the significance and importance of PEGI becoming the single classification system for games in the UK. We wish him well in the post.”

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