Unless you’ve been hibernating for the last few months, it would have been difficult to miss the simmering feud between the BBFC and PEGI.
Both are in contention for the job of rating video games in the U.K., where PEGI enjoys the support of ELSPA, the U.K. game publishing lobby, while the BBFC appears to be favored by the government.
In a guest column for Edge Online, BBFC head David Cooke plays down the rivalry, which has gotten fairly nasty at times:
I have been reading recently that there’s a spat between the BBFC and ESLPA or the BBFC and PEGI. I don’t recognize this so-called spat. I have great respect for ELSPA and for PEGI and for the games industry…
Cooke also discussed the U.K.’s bifurcated game rating system, which currently uses both PEGI and the BBFC:
The conclusion that [Tonya Byron] reached was that we should still have a system in which both the BBFC and PEGI were involved for the UK but the BBFC should have a rather bigger role covering everything from age 12 and older.
In parallel, the House of Commons Select Committee on culture media and sports looked at the same kinds of questions as Tanya Byron, and they took a lot of evidence from many experts, including ELSPA. They reached a similar conclusion to Byron.
Cooke also points out the difference between BBFC’s mandate and that of ELSPA:
BBFC isn’t a lobbying organization, like ELSPA. It’s a statutory regulator. Our position is we’ll do what the government wants us to do… The key difference between us and PEGI is that we classify in accordance with guidelines that the British public has been consulted about. PEGI doesn’t do that and can’t really because it involves 27 different countries.