Microsoft likes PEGI, kicks BBFC to the curb

While the British government is rumored to want videogames treated exactly like films and the PEGI and BBFC rating systems slaver for a chance to control videogame classification, UK Microsoft  corporate affairs head Matt Lambert has stated his preference for the European system over the British Board of Film Classification.

Lambert stated that the so-called “confusion” parents have over game ratings isn’t nearly as real a problem as has been made out, claiming that 96% of parents are aware of the age restrictions. He implied instead that parents choose to ignore those ratings as opposed to suffer any sort of confusion over them — a belief I’m willing to subscribe to.

Lambert then went on to state that PEGI should be the company to rate games in the UK, not the BBFC, declaring that “If there’s going to be one ratings system, it should be PEGI. With PEGI, they think very carefully about age appropriacy…but the BBFC is set up to rate films, and it takes that approach for games when a different approach is required.”

Sound words indeed. I do believe that games should be rated by a more dedicated organization that truly knows the medium, in the same way that American games are governed by the ESRB. The BBFC may claim to be able to handle the workload of rating our games, but they are film specialists, not game specialists. I wouldn’t mind videogames being treated like films if they were subject to the same liberties as them, however. As it is, the banning of Manhunt 2 already flies in the face of what the British government seems to want to achieve. Until this is rectified, such plans for film-style game ratings are hypocrisy even before they’re realized.

Jim Sterling