ISFE Chief Warns Against U.K. Videogame Rating Changes


The Interactive Software Federation of Europe has warned against videogame rating changes in the U.K. that are expected to follow the release of the Byron report.

In an interview with MCV, ISFE Director General Patrice Chazerand said the current system in use by Pan European Game Information and the British Board of Film Classification is understood and trusted by parents. Videogames in the U.K. are currently rated by the BBFC using classifications developed by PEGI, the European equivalent of the ESRB, but according to a report in the Guardian newspaper, the U.K. government is planning to bring in “cinema-style” ratings for videogames following the release of the report by Dr. Tanya Byron next month.

“I would resent the idea of equating games to movies – it’s not the same experience,” Chazerand said. “It’s a step backwards. If we are to see a move to movie-like classification, I would see it as a mistake. But I cannot speaking for the U.K. public – or the U.K. government.”

“If your government goes for a national solution over a pan-European one, I would take it as a blow to PEGI and not a reflection of the industry being global,” he added. “It’s not fitting to have a national system of game classification if you are current with the internet and if you are supportive of it.”

The Byron Review was commissioned by the U.K. government in September 2007 to examine the potential risks posed to children by videogames and the internet. While the U.K. game industry initially applauded Dr. Byron’s open approach to the task, concerns have arisen recently over the government’s response to the publication of her findings, which could include harsher measures against violent videogames and wholesale changes in how games are rated.

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