Rockstar’s lawyer Lawrence Abramson not only feels that the BBFC's approach to video game classification is flawed, but that the appeals system is a major problem as well.
Abramson, of Harbottle & Lewis LLP, informed TechRadar that: “The problem as I see it with the current system of classification is that the members of the Video Appeals Committee do not as a general rule play games.
"Games are becoming more and more complicated and difficult to play; the experience one gets from playing a game is very different to the experience one gets from watching somebody else play it.”
Rockstar's legal representative continued: “And so we find ourselves in the position on appeals that the body charged with determining the appeal are incapable of replicating the experience on which they are supposed to be sitting in judgment.”
“I understand that Tanya Byron is expected to recommend that the regulation of games is taken outside of the BBFC/VAC procedure altogether and that instead the role of PEGI should be enhanced.”
So what’s to be done? While we await the outcome of Tanya Byron’s forthcoming government review into violent games and unsuitable internet content, Abrahmson gives some common sensical advice to the games industry at large and, specifically, to the BBFC and Video Appeals Committee.
“One would seek to ensure that there are a sufficient number of members on the Video Appeals Committee who have regularly played games in the past, and who are familiar with the basic controls of the various formats and the genre of video games in general."
TechRadar has contacted the European Leisure and Software Publishers Association, Tanya Byron’s office, the BBFC and Rockstar games for comment on this and we will be sure to keep you updated accordingly.