The Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers Association has instructed its members to ignore any request from the BBFC to change the current age ratings process.
The UK industry representative has requested that leading publishers hold fire on implementing any changes to classification of their games until the Government has officially executed proposals influenced by the Byron Review.
The industry is now in an 18-month period of consultation with Government following Dr Tanya Byron's recommendations – which included BBFC ratings on all video games boxes and a statutory ‘12' classification.
However, ELSPA believes that rival European ratings body PEGI – which seems to have the support of publishers – may be able to make a strong claim to hold greater power, possibly in contradiction to Dr. Byron's proposals.
ELSPA has hit out at the BBFC for appointing a dedicated ‘Byron Implementation Officer' – which will contact PEGI, publishers and retailers – for being a ‘hasty move'.
ELSPA told MCV:
‘You may have heard that the BBFC has appointed a ‘BBFC Byron Implementation Officer'. Apparently his brief is to contact PEGI and interested trade bodies as well as the country's games companies ‘with a view to implementing the Byron recommendations'.
‘Our view is that this appointment at the BBFC – along with the brief itself – is somewhat hasty since we still await actual details of the full consultation promised in the Byron Review.
‘We believe that there can be no ‘implementing' until we have been permitted to make PEGI's case in full in the coming consultation process, specific details of which are still yet to be announced. Our advice to members is to hold off any approaches from outside organisations until the DCMS consultation process has actually taken place.'
MCV has contacted the BBFC for response.