Byron Review will create videogame delays, warns EA
Certification process could slow games releases
If changes to the classification of videogames in the UK - as proposed by the Byron Review - get the go-ahead, then gamers will be forced to wait longer for titles to hit the shops, Electronic Arts has warned.
In a report by Gamesindustry.biz, Keith Ramsdale, general manager for EA in the UK, Ireland and Nordic regions, said the changes would create “an extra and unnecessary layer of administration”, causing delays that will ultimately “get passed on to the players themselves”.
The Byron Review - a government-ordered investigation into the potential risks of videogames and the internet to children – recently recommended that videogames be rated like movies. It also suggested that cinema-style labels should be adopted alongside elements of the voluntary Pan European Game Information (Pegi) system, which is currently followed by many game manufacturers.
As a result, the BBFC would be required to take on more classification duties. However, a BBFC spokeswoman has previously told Register Hardware that it’s perfectly able to do so, despite critics claiming that the censor isn’t up to the job.
“If there's more than one standard in the UK, and across Europe, that can only equal delays in getting games to market and into the hands of British players,” grumbled Ramsdale.
No decision on whether to make any changes to the existing UK videogames classification system has been made yet.
No matter what rating a game receives, an undercover investigation has proven that it’s still relatively easy for kids to get hold of their favourite titles.
Consumer advocate Which? and Harrow Trading Standards recently asked a 15-year old girl to try and buy 18-rated videogames from nine High Street stores. Three shops sold them to her, including one where the girl even told staff her real age.
How about after sale?
As I recall from primary school, none of the kids who were that way inclined had any problem getting to see X-cert videos. They just went through their parents' stashes, when said parents were out or not paying attention.
So it must be with 18 cert games, unless the installation disks are kept under lock and key along with the PCs on which they are installed.
Could this be enforced? Do we even want to know? Will it stop anyone from trying?
@ Free Games
All you would need to do is to either publish it abroad or send it to someone else to publish abroad. Then the BBFC can go away.
Exactly right, we don't need a new ratings system, the govenrment simply need to raise the visibility to parents of the existing rating system.
If you make parents aware that, games are not just for kids*, and then tell them about penelties, ie adverts saying buying an 18+ game for your child is against the law and you could face high fines etc. it would go a long way towards this.
This just needs one parent shouting up in the news about how the latest 18+ rated game caused their innocent little johnny, who wouldn't hurt a fly obviously, to go on a killing spee. To then be arrested and fined for letting him get hold of it in the first place. Harsh, but a few cases like that in the Sun, etc, will soon have parents scrutinising what they buy for their kids. I have a strange feeling that the giant 18+ logo slapped on the front of every game, being a slightly different colour to the ones on films, won't be an issue for long. (Most 18's are voluntarily submitted to the BBFC for rating anyway, have the same style ratings as dvd's, come in dvd cases, and are displayed in exactly the same places as dvd's would have them, ie front, back and spine)
*I'm not sure where this idea comes from really, there are by far, more 15+ & 18+ rated games out there than there are games suitable for kids. I've even seen something recently where a parent was complaining that there were few, if any, games available that were suitable for 10-14 year olds so what did people expect they were going to buy for them. I was particularly impressed with this parent's common sense of actually researching the 15+ games themselves, to see if they were suitable, before buying them for the child.