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ELSPA chief lays into UK censor over games ratings

Leave classification to the games industry

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The British Board of Film Classification isn’t fit for purpose when it comes to videogame classification, the bigwig of a rival game classification body has told the government. Again.

Speaking at the Labour Party conference today, the notoriously hard-talking Director General of the European Leisure Software Publishers Association (ELSPA), Paul Jackson, said that his organisation's scheme is the only ratings classification with the power to prevent publishers from distributing unsuitable content to kids.

It’s worth noting that ELSPA is both voluntary and run by videogame publishers, whereas the BBFC remains the only ratings body with any legal backing. It's also independent of content producers.

Jackson launched the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) criticism to further hammer home his message that a single classification organisation – called the Pan European Game Information (Pegi) system – run exclusively by ELSPA, would be the best way of classifying games both in the UK and across Europe.

“The film ratings board continually downgrades games classified 18 by Pegi. They go to BBFC 15 or even BBFC 12,” claimed Jackson. He alleged that the UK would be left “out of step” with classifications in the rest of Europe.

Although the BBFC has already taken steps to handle the increase in online videogame sales, by launching BBFC Online, Jackson told Labour supporters that Pegi would still be the most suitable system for handling such content.

Last week, videogame giant Atari told gaming website MCV that 90 per cent of its games be will be “online-only in a few years”.

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