British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) director David Cooke has issued a statement rejecting criticism from some publishers in the UK, who warned that implementation of the proposals from the Byron Review
could lead to many games being delayed as they are rated by both the Pan European Games Information System (PEGI) and the BBFC.
“We are disappointed and concerned about attempts by one or two video games publishers to pre-empt, through recent press statements, the forthcoming public consultation on video games classification. Their statements are misleading in several respects,” claimed Cooke in reference to recent press statements from Electronic Arts and Microsoft executives.
“The BBFC’s current average turnaround time for games classifications is eight calendar days. In terms of international comparisons, this is notably quick. There is no reason why the increased role for the BBFC envisaged by Dr Byron should lead to delays”, stated Cooke.
Publishers had also raised concern over the increased cost associated with the BBFC rating any gaming rated ‘12’ and above, rather than its current purview of games rated ‘15+’ and ‘18+’
“BBFC classifications are already cheaper for many games than those under PEGI. Because the BBFC currently deals mainly with the most problematic games, BBFC costs will fall if, as Dr Byron recommended, we take on all games, physical and online, rated ‘12’ and above,” countered Cooke.
“It is absurd to imply that the BBFC could not cope, or would need ‘a building the size of Milton Keynes’. The BBFC is a larger and better resourced organisation than PEGI, and is well used to gearing up, and to providing fast-track services where appropriate”, continued Cooke – in reference to suggestions that the BBFC would be unable to cope with the increased workload, particularly in terms of online games.
“The games industry really does have nothing to fear from a set of proposals which would provide more robust and fully independent, decisions, and detailed content advice, for the British public, and especially parents,” said Cooke.
“The Byron proposals, far from envisaging the collapse of PEGI, specifically provide for a continuing PEGI presence in UK games classification. They also provide significant opportunities to reduce duplication of effort and costs. And they would make wider use of a system, the BBFC’s, which British parents recognize, trust and have confidence in,” he concluded.