Lord Carter's Digital Britain report is finally published today, with the government deciding that PEGI is set to be the UK's the single games rating body, with the independent British Board of Film Classification no longer being used to evaluate videogames.
The news follows the statement in the House of Commons on Lord Carter's Digital Britain report, which can be read in full online at the Department of Culture, Media and Sport's website.
Questions raised by BBFC
While many in the games industry will celebrate the news, questions will no doubt be raised as to whether or not the industry should, effectively, be allowed to regulate itself.
TechRadar expects statements from games publishers trade body ELSPA, games developers trade body TIGA on the news shortly.
The BBFC has issued the following statement, following the news:
"We have argued consistently that any games classification system needs to put child protection at its heart. It must involve consultation with the British public, command their trust, and reflect their sensibilities. It must take account of tone and context and be carried out by skilled and knowledgeable examiners. It needs to involve the provision of full, helpful and carefully weighed information to parents and the public more generally.
"It must have the power and will to reject or intervene in relation to unacceptable games or game elements. It should make a substantial contribution to media education, for example through dedicated websites and through work with pupils, students and teachers. It must be speedy and cost effective. It must have the capabilities to monitor online gameplay and to attract new members to online classification schemes. And it must be independent in substance as well as appearance, reaching its decisions and providing information on the basis of its own detailed assessments.
"The BBFC has always supported PEGI and wished it well, but it continues to believe that it satisfies these requirements better than PEGI. However, it will cooperate fully in the detailed work needed to give effect to the Government's decision. And it must be independent in substance as well as appearance, reaching its decisions and providing information on the basis of its own detailed assessments."
ELSPA and IFSE pleased
"The Government has made absolutely the right decision for child safety. By choosing PEGI as the single classification system in the UK, British children will now get the best possible protection when playing videogames either on a console or on the internet," says Mike Rawlinson, Director General of ELSPA, clearly pleased with the news.
"Parents can be assured that they will have access to clear, uniform ratings on games and an accurate understanding of game content.
"Today's decision will ensure that games ratings stay relevant and adapt to the changing nature of videogames for many years to come. Retailers will now have clear, legal backing to help them prevent access to unsuitable content by children. We will work closely with the Government, the Video Standards Council and the BBFC to ensure a smooth and rapid transition to this new ratings system."
Simon Little, MD of the International Software Federation of Europe (ISFE) adds that the "decision by the British government to adopt PEGI as the single ratings system for videogames in the UK will give British children the same protection whether they are playing at home or online, as children in 28 countries across Europe.
"PEGI meets the criteria set out by Professor Byron in her review and has also been further updated to take into account developments in new technology as game playing moves increasingly online and becomes increasingly interactive. It is a robust system which protects children online and offline. We will continue to ensure that PEGI remains the most relevant and effective system for helping parents, guardians, teachers and retailers to protect children both now and in the future."