‘Retail wanted BBFC’, Byron tells ELSPA

Dr Tanya Byron has told the biggest names in UK video games publishing that retailers persuaded her to give more power to the BBFC over PEGI – as ELSPA members voiced their disagreement with the decision.

Addressing ELSPA members in Portman Square, London at a closed meeting this morning – also attended by specially selected press – Byron said that retailers very strongly” backed BBFC logos on the front of all games boxes to assist the with parental confusion at the point of sale”.

She was supported by director general of the Entertainment Retail Association Kim Bayley, who thanked Byron for her efforts and "sensible" proposals.

However, publisher bosses such as EA UK general manager Keith Ramsdale, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe president David Reeves and SCE UK boss Ray Maguire showed their disagreement with the decision during a show of hands.

Despite largely positive soundings on the Review in general, when asked if they would prefer the current hybrid of BBFC and PEGI classification or one single ratings system, around 90 per cent of ELSPA members opted for the latter.

Around two-thirds of ELSPA members then voted in favour of a single PEGI system, rather than for the BBFC to take full control.

Retail felt very strongly in favour of the BBFC as the single consumer-facing on all games,” Byron told the room. They felt they needed more support at the point of sale, and the BBFC could offer them that.”

Byron used the opportunity to praise the UK publishing sector and the manner in which it self-regulated prior to the Review.

The big message of this Review is that the public needs to understand that this is not a cynical industry turning people into psychopaths and just making as much money as possible,” she added. This is an industry very proud of its products, which offer many benefits for young children.”

Once again, Byron took the time to dismiss inaccurate reports that she recommended stricter penalties for retailers.

Keep checking back at MCVuk.com for more news on ‘When Byron met ELSPA’ – and look out for our full interview with the woman herself tomorrow morning.

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