As the British government begins to take action based on the Tanya Byron Review, game content ratings are increasingly under the spotlight.
In recent weeks the battle between the British Board of Film Classification (which wants to expand its mandate to handle additional gaming content) and the Pan-European Game Information system (which seems to be preferred by the UK game industry.
BBFC head David Cooke has aired his side of the argument to the Times:
[Game industry critics who say that BBFC couldn’t handle the increased workload] are absolutely wrong. We would have to review another 300 to 500 games every year under the new proposals, and we think we can do that without taking on any new staff at all…
The trouble is that it is not clear who PEGI is. Administration is handled by the Dutch film regulator, who subcontracts to a couple of blokes [the Video Standards Council] in Borehamwood.
Cooke also disputed industry claims that adding UK-specific ratings by the BBFC would delay game releases:
I think that is a red herring; Germany and the US have their own systems. Look at what happens in film – there are different cultural sensititives in each country. The French give Tarantino films 12 certificates; I’d be out of a job tomorrow if I did that. But the point is that there is no reason why those cultural differences go to sleep when it comes to games.