Retailers want more BBFC ratings on games

Tanya Byron's recent review has caused ructions between games retailers and publishers

While there is still some consternation amongst games publishers at Dr Tanya Byron’s recent recommendations that the BBFC should be given more power over rating games, it seems games retailers are happy with the plan.

Dr Byron told a closed meeting of games industry execs at an ELSPA meeting today, that retailers persuaded her to recommend a bigger role for the BBFC in rating games than it has previously had.

The BBFC brand

Byron talked about the value of the BBFC ‘brand’ and noted that retailers “very strongly” backed BBFC logos on the front of all games, as they help with “parental confusion at the point of sale”.

“Retail felt very strongly in favour of the BBFC as the single consumer-facing on all games,” Byron told the room. “They felt they needed more support at the point of sale, and the BBFC could offer them that.”

Kim Bayley, director general of the Entertainment Retail Association, was on hand to offer the full support of the retail sector.

The Byronic bible

MCV reports that major publishing bosses such as EA UK vice president Keith Ramsdale, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe president David Reeves and SCE UK boss Ray Maguire disagreed with the decision in a show of hands.

“The review is a little bit like the bible,” one commentator told TechRadar. “Everybody seems to generally agree that it is a good thing, but some of the language is quite vague and it can be read and interpreted in different ways for different purposes.”

ELSPA remains unconvinced

90 per cent of ELSPA members would still rather see a single ratings system, as opposed to a hybrid PEGI/BBFC, and around two-thirds of ELSPA members would rather that system was PEGI and not BBFC.

Dr Byron summed up her government-sponsored review, adding that ‘the big message’ was: “That the public needs to understand that [the games industry] is not a cynical industry turning people into psychopaths and just making as much money as possible… This is an industry very proud of its products, which offer many benefits for young children.”

Adam Hartley