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Last Updated: Tuesday, 9 October 2007, 07:31 GMT 08:31 UK
Industry reacts to games review
The government is launching a review into video games, violence and children, headed by psychologist Dr Tanya Byron. The review will also look at how to protect young people from net pornography.

Leading figures in the games industry give their views on the review.

DAVID BRABEN, FOUNDER FRONTIER GAMES

A review might be useful but the review should not just look at one media, especially when media are intersecting. One of my concerns is that the application of ratings and consideration of ratings is largely spoken to by how people consider film.

Unifying the two would be helpful. Creating a review that is just one narrow part of the entertainment industry is a mistake.

Perhaps 18 certificate games should not be sold in retail that is available to children
David Braben

Historically there has always been in government a Luddite sentiment - whatever the new industry trends to take the blame of the latest ailment of society. This is an industry which often does not answer back.

Occasionally game ratings are seen as aspirational - I've seen games with 18 ratings that do not deserve it. If you look at comparison with film, the industry is dealing with similar issues. We need to deal with awkward, moral issues in games. The lack of interactivity in a film is worse - in a game you are in control.

We don't have real enforcement of ratings. Perhaps 18 certificate games should not be sold in retail that is available to children. Just like Adult Only games in the US.

It's a disgrace that there are games designed for 18 year olds being played by eight year olds. There is an expectation of "it's only a game".

It's as much an education issue as anything else and it applies equally to films.

"We do tend to be the people who get the blame first at the moment. And that is a tragedy - because this industry is one of the most interesting media.

PHILIP OLIVER, CHIEF EXECUTIVE BLITZ GAMES

There are kids playing games that they shouldn't be. And for that reason I welcome the review.

Is the industry doing the right thing? I firmly believe we are.

Everything is clearly labelled. All the games have certificates on them.

I feel the breakdown in the games industry, as it is in every other media, is with parent's understanding.

They aren't paying attention to the certificates. That is partly because they don't understand them and have a distorted image of games - that either they are harmless or totally evil.

The games industry makes titles for older gamers because that is where the market is. They are not aimed at children
Philip Oliver

We need to educate parents - and if that is what this government review does, then I am very happy about that.

Only a small percentage of games are rated 15 or over and the average age of a gamer is 28 years old.

The games industry makes titles for older gamers because that is where the market is. They are not aimed at children.

If the movie industry didn't make titles for 18 audiences, you wouldn't have Schindler's List, Saving Private Ryan and Reservoir Dogs.

There are games that don't need to be made, such as Manhunt 2. That title was banned, which shows the system is working.

MARGARET ROBERTSON, FORMER EDITOR OF EDGE MAGAZINE

The response to this review in the industry has been a deep sigh because we have been through this so many times.

There is need for a review but probably not for more legislation. From within the games industry this problem is well mapped.

The games industry is holding itself to higher standards than the film industry. This is a solved problem
Margaret Robertson

The UK games industry feels, quite justifiably, they are doing as much as they reasonably can so shop that games are for all and not just for children and therefore some of them have adult themes and are not suitable for younger players.

The combination of the BBFC and the Pegi European ratings and the size of these ratings on boxes - typically larger than certificates on DVDs - is an indication of that seriousness.

Staff at most game shops are trained but again and again what we hear is that there is still a problem of getting parents to understand that a game may not be suitable for their children.

It's hard to see what more could be done. The games industry is holding itself to higher standards than the film industry. This is a solved problem.

Allowing that, everyone is united in not wanting material for older gamers to get into the hands of children.

This report may start finding some wider ways to do that.

PAUL JACKSON, CHAIRMAN OF ELSPA

We feel quite positively about this review. It's clear the review is about making sure parents are properly informed about what their youngsters are playing and what they are accessing on the internet.

The video games industry is a very responsible industry and we are very tightly regulated. We are keen to work with government in any way we can.

I think the video games industry is this year's whipping boy
Paul Jackson

We are a successful industry. The average age of gamers today is about 28 so we reserve the right to make content for all our consumers.

The key for us is to make sure parents understand age ratings. There is no difference between an 18-rated film and an 18-rated game.

I think the video games industry is this year's whipping boy. too often we are blamed for everything from obesity to youth violence it is just not true and it's not appropriate.

We are a very important British industry and we are very responsible keen to ensure that our products are only played by those who they are designed for.


SEE ALSO
Games violence study is launched
09 Oct 07 |  Technology
Rating video games globally
29 Aug 07 |  Technology
In defence of computer games
26 Sep 07 |  Magazine

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