BBFC logos to vanish from future games releases
Pegi in, officially, as Digital Economy Bill gets Royal Assent
The Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers Association (Elspa) has wrested the classification of videogames away from the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC).
The switch follows the passing of the Digital Economy Bill into law, a move that will see the Elspa-backed Pan-European Game Information (Pegi) system become the sole system for informing gamers and parents about the ages for which a given title is suitable.
In the UK, Pegi ratings will be awarded by the Video Standards Council. The BBFC will formally lose its games classification role in the next, post-election Parliament.
Elspa admitted that the shift away from the BBFC had been rejected by psychologist Dr Tanya Byron - asked by the government to review the impact of the internet on children - and the Department for Culture, Media and Sports (DCMS) Select Committee, both of whom decided the BBFC, which certifies films and videos, should be the sole games classification body.
However, Elspa lauded its lobbying skills and "highly skilled political strategy" for getting the BBFC's familiar logos off the back of games. Most titles already include Pegi ratings alongside the BBFC classification.
Elspa said it is now able to focus on seeking tax breaks for UK games developers to match or exceed those offered by other nations keen to build up their participation in the multi-billion dollar games business, such as Canada. ®
Typical that the Govt didn't listen to the advisor that they very publicly put in place on this matter.
In all of the arguments over video game violence, we've always been able to say "Look, they're rated the save as films" but this argument will be watered down now that a European-wide system is in place that the non video-gaming public don't understand.
PEGI vs BBFC
I've got 14 and 10 year old boys so am constantly coming up against the "I want this game, all my friends have it" argument for games that aer rated several years older than they are (MW2 seems to have been big in the Y5 (9-10 year old) Christmas lists at the local primary school). From this my opinion has been that PEGI seems to be a tickbox exercise (if it contains x, y or z then its a 16 and if it also has p and q its and 18) whereas I get the feeling that (as with films) the BBFC take a more contextual view. This leads in my mind to PEGI giving some very dubious ratings which tend to bring the whole system into disrepute. Both children have enjoyed playing Rome Total war for a several of years at least but, as it involves fighting (difficult to cover the romans without this) it has a PEGI 12 rating - Age of Mythology is the same but having played this for a couple of years led to my 10 year old getting high praise from he's teachers during the Romans and Greek part of keystage 2 for his extensive knowledge of Greek/Roman mythology. Meanwhile just noticed that Empire Total War is a 16 .... more fighting I assume - plus no doubt a fair amount of history. Most ludicrous one to my mind is Motorstorm 2 for PS3 ... its a racing game and like most racing games (except true simulators) one of the ways to get past people is to push them out of the way ... can do this in MS and there's a special button to do this - but if your on a motorcycle instead of pushing the other vehicle your character punches them - immediately this is personal violence and its a 16 - but how is this different from my 10 year old barging his way through the pack at the start of an F1 race game? Another issue seems to be the perenial "if you can kill people it must be a 12, if they bleed as well then its a 16" issue. (My sons are now well aware of this and will give me a rapid rundown on if there's blood and how much in any game they've seen that they want)
Also, on BBFC you could go to their website to read about why they had given something a specific rating ... not sure if PEGI does this.
Result is that we've got a rating system that to me has little credibility and to make matters worse doesn't even match the film ratings system. Can't see this as being a benefit except for the games manufacturers who only need to now match a tick box process rather than have to have their game analysed for context etc.
Pegi vs BBFC
Personally I've always found the BBFC stand out more.
I agree why they should have one I agree that a pan-european one is better than a local one.
Hopefully Pegi will take the oportunity to take the space from the BBFC and make their logos stand out a bit more.