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ELSPA To Intro 'Traffic Light' Game Ratings System

Trade body ELSPA plans to introduce a color-coded "traffic light" rating system with PEGI age ratings for games released in the UK. The system is designed to mimic similar labels applied by food manufacturers and retailers in the region to show food conte

Eric Caoili, Blogger

October 28, 2008

2 Min Read

Trade body ELSPA (Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers Association) introduce a "traffic light" rating system with PEGI (Pan European Game Information) age ratings for games released in the UK. Similar to the labels applied by food manufacturers and retailers in the region to show food content at-a-glance, the new system is designed to give parents a quick indicator of a game's age appropriateness. For example, games with adult content intended for players aged 18 and up will feature on its cover the number 18 enclosed in a bright red circle, while games with content deemed suitable for all will have the number 3 in a bright green circle. You can see the actual labels at this link. The new rating system is in response to the UK government's upcoming consultation into video game ratings on November 20 and to child psychologist Dr. Tanya Byron's recommendations in her recently published report on the effects of video games on children. "The world of gaming is fast moving and it is vital that we have a clear ratings system that is up to date with consumers’ needs," says former U.K. Culture minister Margaret Hodge in this month's issue of InStock Magazine. She continues, "It has already been proven that everyone understands traffic light labeling, making it the perfect scheme for the industry to adopt." Ratings agency BBFC (British Board of Film Classification), which has been criticized repeatedly by the ELSPA for its limited scope, however, believes that its own color-coded approach is already well-established. "Changing the colours of the PEGI symbols is not copying the food industry," says BBFC spokeswoman Sue Clark according to a report from the BBC. "There is a system in place already which people know and understand and which in fact uses the traffic light colours, and it's called the BBFC system."

About the Author(s)

Eric Caoili


Eric Caoili currently serves as a news editor for Gamasutra, and has helmed numerous other UBM Techweb Game Network sites all now long-dead, including GameSetWatch. He is also co-editor for beloved handheld gaming blog Tiny Cartridge, and has contributed to Joystiq, Winamp, GamePro, and 4 Color Rebellion.

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