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Give consumers better information about video games, but don't impose new costs on the games industry, Tiga warns Government

Tiga today backed the Byron Review’s call for the provision of better information about the content of video games and for parents to take greater responsibility for ensuring that their children do not view inappropriate material. However, Tiga also warned the Government against burdening the games industry with the sole cost of waging an information campaign about the ratings systems for games.

Richard Wilson, CEO of Tiga, said:

“The UK games development sector is a world class industry, creating products for global consumption. The success story of the games development sector must not be overlooked.

“Games are designed not simply for the enjoyment of children. 59% of the UK population play games. The average age of gamers is in the mid-20s. Yet children and young people must be protected from potentially harmful or inappropriate material on the internet and in video games. Since 2006 Tiga has proactively encouraged games developers and the industry as a whole to embrace the voluntary PEGI system and where possible disseminate information about games ratings to help consumers. We therefore support the Byron Review’s recommendations to give purchasers more information concerning the content of video games and that parents must take greater responsibility for protecting their children from viewing inappropriate material.

“However, the Government must not burden the games industry alone with the cost of executing an information campaign about the ratings system for games. Games developers already face intense competition from government subsidised Canadian games developers. The last thing the games industry needs is for the UK Government to impose additional costs on it.”

The Byron Review proposes that:

• there should be a sustained profile campaign by the games industry to increase parents’ understanding and use of age ratings and controls on consoles;

• the statutory requirement to age classify games should be extended to include those receiving 12+ ratings;

• the existing hybrid classification system involving PEGI and the BBFC should be extended, with the effect that BBFC logos will be on the front of all games (U, PG, 12, 15, 18);

• PEGI should continue to rate all 3+ and 7+ games and their equivalent logos will be on the back of all boxes;

• the BBFC and PEGI work together to develop a joint online approach to rating online games;

• parents must be given clear guidance on how to use locks on games consoles; and

• a UK Council for Child Internet Safety, reporting to PM, with representatives from Government, industry, children’s charities, young people and parents, should be established to implement her recommendations.

Richard Wilson added:

“Introducing a statutory requirement to classify games for children aged 12 plus will place a considerable burden on the BBFC. The BBFC will need more people to rate games and who are themselves experienced in the field of video games. The criteria for rating video games will also have to be transparent. We hope that the reformed classification system will not result in a slow and costly accreditation process for games. The Government will need to ensure that the BBFC is properly resourced if it is to meet its new responsibilities. Tiga looks forward to taking part in the consultation process concerning the proposal to establish a hybrid classification system for games. In the meantime, the Government should think twice before adding to the games industry’s costs in the form of a massive public awareness campaign about the ratings system.”

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