Nintendo UK, Ubisoft UK, EA (UK, Ireland, and Nordics), and Sega Europe have joined trade body ELSPA in calling for the UK government to adopt the Pan European PEGI ratings standard and support a single games age ratings system for Europe.
Said ELSPA director general Paul Jackson states that the UK video games industry was ready to work with the government: “The industry in the UK wants to work with government to devise and implement a strong, detailed PEGI awareness strategy. We want to reach, not just children, but also parents and the wider game-playing community,”
The ELSPA’s renewed call follows the UK government’s recently revealed Action Plan
for implementing recommendations and ratings reforms suggested in the Byron Review of the effects of video games and the Internet on children. The study
was led by child psychologist Tanya Byron and backed by British prime minster Gordon Brown, calling for a new legally enforced, cinema style classification system making it illegal to sell games to children below the recommended age.
Jackson applauded the Byron Review, but noted that it did not go far enough: “Whether speaking on issues such as the educational benefits, the need for a parental awareness campaign or better efforts to protect and inform children at the point of sale, it was clear that Dr Byron ‘gets it’. However, my only complaint is that some of her recommendations didn’t go far enough. The industry is moving online and about to undergo huge change.”
He added: “PEGI represents the ‘gold standard’ today, and will undoubtedly be the best system for tomorrow. PEGI is clearly the only ratings system which has the power to prevent game publishers distributing unsuitable content to children, online and offline.”
Nintendo UK general manager David Yarnton, Ubisoft UK managing director Rob Cooper, Sega Europe president and CEO Mike Hayes, and EA (UK, Ireland, and Nordics) vice president and general manager Keith Ramsdale all added their support to the ELSPA’s calls to action.
Said Hayes: “If you look at the PEGI system against the film ratings board in the UK, you will see that PEGI is the only system that has the power to prevent games publishers distributing unsuitable content to children. It can ban a publisher’s entire output, rather than just a single title. This power is backed by the entire industry.”