Guardian: UK ministers will 'plan clampdown' on games

Guardian: UK ministers will 'plan clampdown' on games
Michael French

By Michael French

February 9th 2008 at 2:12PM

But 'cinema-style' ratings will strike balance between entertainment value and 'inherent dangers' of the web

As our sister magazine MCV revealed earlier this week, the UK government is planning to introduce new classifications for all video games.

However ministers are 'anxious to strike a balance between the entertainment, knowledge and pleasure children gain from high profitable internet and computer games, as well as the dangers inherent in the unregulated world of the net and its overuse by children'.

Today The Guardian reports that ministers will back a 'legally enforceable cinema-style classification system' across all games - presumably the BBFC's age rating system - 'in an effort to keep children from playing damaging games unsuitable for their age'.

According to the report, the plans are being formulated by the government as a response to The Byron Review - the survey and study of the games industry by psychologist Tanya Byron - the verdict of which ministers apparently already have 'a sense of'.

The report adds: "Ministers are also expected to advise parents to keep computers and games consoles away from children's bedrooms as much as possible, and ask them to play games in living rooms or kitchens facing outward so carers can see what is being played."

MCV this week reported on industry insiders' fear that the move will be interpreted as a move against the industry despite Byron's close collaboration with games publishers in the country, asking for thoughts, feedback and research.

This latest report, however, suggests that the government is keen to provide security over content, and its intended audience, for both those in the industry and those outside of it.

The report adds: "Ministers hope the Byron review will act as a way of calming the debate about video games which has become increasingly polarised and based on prejudice."