ELSPA (the Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers Association) has re-stated its support for the PEGI ratings to government. The latest blast comes in response to comments from Culture Minister, Margaret Hodge, stating that the games industry needs to be unified in its approach to ensuring child safety.
ELSPA has pulled out David Yarnton (UK general manager of Nintendo), David Solari (VP and general manager of Codemasters online), Andy Payne (chairman of Mastertonic) and its own general manager, Mike Rawlinson, to speak in favour of PEGI.
Hodge's comments came in the latest issue of In Stock Magazine
, a games trade magazine, in which Hodge said, “What I would love to get to is a consensus from the industry as to how best we protect the interests of children...
"We have said that we accept her [Byron] recommendations in full and it is really, really important that the games industry should understand the principles that underpinned her recommendations around classification and if, at the end of the day, they are not happy with her actual proposals around what system would meet those principles, they’ve got to be true to the principles in suggesting alternatives.”
ELSPA, it would seem, believes the games industry is already unified in its support of PEGI. It has, of course, been staunch in its support of the system. In a SPOnG interview Mike Rawlinson was very clear
on why he sees PEGI as the clear winner over the BBFC. Today, the sound bytes ELSPA rolled out go as follows:
Nintendo's David Yarnton - “The PEGI age ratings system is favoured by Nintendo. It has the ability to assess and rate all game content and does not rely on a sample of game play to form its decisions. The fact that there is also an EC proposal for member states to adopt PEGI only adds further weight to the solid arguments and facts for its UK adoption as the sole system of choice for games ratings.”
Codemasters' David Solari - “Online and persistent gaming is the future and we need a ratings system which can keep up and flex with this rapidly growing and evolving entertainment medium. I believe PEGI is the system to do this.”
Mastertronic's Andy Payne - "“Mastertronic feels that the games industry needs a pan-European rating system which understands the intrinsic nuances of our entertainment medium with specific reference to child protection. But such a system must be legally enforceable. To that end, PEGI fits the bill in terms of its approach and delivery, it just needs some legal teeth in the UK to make it the obvious choice over and above all other options.”
ELSPA's own Mike Rawlinson - “The computer games industry takes its responsibility to protect children and educate parents very seriously and we hope that the Minister will recognise this and agree to support PEGI as the primary ratings system in the UK.”
ELSPA also outlined just why it thinks PEGI is a better fit for the games industry's needs than the BBFC. It stated:
• "PEGI offers the only ratings system that can fully assess all game content (currently rating 97% of content vs just 3% by BBFC)
• "PEGI is the only rating system that has the power to prevent games publishers distributing unsuitable content to children – it can ban a publisher’s entire output across Europe rather than just a game
• "PEGI understands and operates in the online world already – it has the highest levels of customer and parental understanding and confidence, both on and offline, in 25 countries
• "The major growth area for games is online, where gamers are increasingly playing each other - not only with others in their own country but those across the continent and even the other side of the world. The UK Gaming industry has already adopted the PEGI Online system to help keep children safe regardless of how and where they are playing games."
SPOnG will have a full and frank interview with Mike Rawlinson up later today.