TIGA criticises 'punitive' PEGI pricing policy

TIGA criticises 'punitive' PEGI pricing policy
Craig Chapple

By Craig Chapple

April 29th 2014 at 2:25PM

Richard Wilson says cost of ratings for multi-platform game releases puts indies and European developers at disadvantage

UK game industry trade body TIGA has criticised PEGI for its “punitive” pricing policy for game ratings that it claims is hurting small studios.

The organisation wrote an open letter to PEGI calling for urgent reform to pricing, calling it unreasonably high.

Currently developers have to pay a fee for a game content rating every time they release a title on a different console, even if the content is exactly the same. This can prove particularly difficult for studios that aim to release on multiple platforms.

From July 1st, online and downloadable games under 250mb will be charged €260 for certification, and the same price again for new platforms. Titles over over 250mb with budgets less than €200,000 will be charged €1,155 certification, and €1,050 for each additional platform.

The highest tier for games with budgets over €200,000 will be charged €2,100, and €1,050 for subsequent platform releases.

Additional charges are repeated for each platform even without any content changes.

America ratings body the ESRB meanwhile does not charge developers for rating identical content on additional platforms.

TIGA claimed this policy risked hurting start-ups and indie game developers. It has suggested changes be made that require developers to sign a legal document stating game content for each release is identical, allowing PEGI to provide a single age rating across platforms without additional fees.

“The majority of UK and European games developers operate small studios where financial resources are limited and costs need to be kept to a minimum,” said TIGA CEO Richard Wilson.
 
“TIGA’s policy is to strengthen the game development and digital publishing sector, in particular by saving games businesses money and improving their access to finance. PEGI’s pricing policy imposes potentially damaging and unreasonably high fees, which have a disproportionate impact on small games businesses. It cannot be right to charge a developer a fee for content rating every time it launches a game on a different console platform even if the content is exactly the same.
 
“Significantly, US developers do not have to pay their equivalent ratings body, the ESRB, anything at all for rating identical content on additional platforms. Once again, UK and European developers are being put at a disadvantage. If the UK and European development sector is to thrive then we need a pricing policy from PEGI which is helpful, not a hindrance; is proportionate, not punitive; and is equitable, not exorbitant.”
 
"TIGA is approaching PEGI to find a solution that fairly represents the interests of developers, digital publishers and consumers across Europe."