Paul Jackson: The key phrase there is ‘just…’ because I don’t think that the PEGI system is ‘just’ anything. I think that the PEGI system is very robust. I think the BBFC system is robust. The question is – what is going to be most future-proofable for our industry so that we can protect youngsters going forward.
Tanya Byron has addressed the wider issues of how we protect our youngsters in this new digital age. In a sense she’s started a conversation that I hope will be a productive conversation and will continue for years.
TechRadar: She also seems to have taken a stance against the more sensationalist, tabloid media and its tendency to ‘demonise’ games and the games industry.
Paul Jackson: The classic for me was on the morning that the Byron Review was announced, one of the newspapers did a story about six videogames, reporting in vituperative terms about each of these games and how the review was going to sort it out. The important point being that two of the games mentioned were already 18-rated by the BBFC and nothing is therefore expected to change.
The games industry is too often an easy political target for people who don’t really want to think about the real issues. And the real issues are about protecting children and they shouldn’t be dealt with in that kind of ‘light’ tone, frankly.
TechRadar: Perhaps there’s an issue of language here – isn’t the word ‘game’ too easily associated with ‘toys’ and ‘childhood’ and so on?
Paul Jackson: That’s a nice dream, but the population will talk about things in the way it wants to. I’ve heard people say that ‘game’ is the right word and people argue otherwise. But it is the word, and I don’t think we can change that with any amount of marketing.
TechRadar: I suppose it’s part of a slower cultural shift.
Paul Jackson: Yes and the cultural shift is really interesting, because there is a concern about videogames. There are some very strong concerns in certain areas and we need to address that and we need to get it right.
But the support for videogames is also unbelievably strong. And Tanya Byron herself wrote at length in the review about the positive aspects of videogaming.
In my belief it is the entertainment medium of the future.
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