The British government has released a six-point action plan which endorses the recommendations concerning the Internet and video games made by Dr. Tanya Byron (left) earlier this year.
Referring to Byron’s work as "groundbreaking", the document says that the government of Prime Minister Gordon Brown has accepted all of the child psychiatrist’s recommendations. While the first four chapters of the action plan address how children relate to the Internet, the final two sections discuss how Byron’s recommendations regarding video games are to be implemented.
Chapter 5, Reforming the video games classification system, notes that Byron called for a hybrid content rating system involving both the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) and the Pan-European Game Information (PEGI) ratings. Byron’s recommendation has generated some controversy in the UK, where the game industry strongly favors PEGI. It was the BBFC, GamePolitics readers may recall, which banned Manhunt 2 in 2007 before being overruled by England’s High Court.
As it turns out, the government is delaying its decision in this regard. Instead, it will "launch a four month public consultation" beginning in July. Following this review, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport will publish its plan for reforming game ratings by early next year. DMCS will also work with game rating organizations to "agree to a way forward for classifying online gaming."
Chapter 6 outlines a number of steps, including:
- raising parental awareness about video game ratings
- setting standards for providing ratings information at point-of-sale
- setting standards for parental controls by November
- setting advertising guidelines for games
GP: Overall, the action plan generates no shockwaves. The key question involving who will rate games for the UK market – PEGI, BBFC, or both – remains unresolved for now.
Get your own copy of the UK government’s action plan here.