According to The Guardian, the UK Government is looking at ways to introduce a legally enforced rating system for computer and video games in the UK - one that would be legally binding and make it totally illegal to sell games to those below the age limit.
Speculation on such a system has been rife ever since Dr. Tanya Byron was commissioned by the government to head up a report into the games industry under the following brief;
“Draw on advice from industry experts and engage a wide range of industry and regulatory bodies. [The report] will be jointly sponsored by the Department for Children, Schools and Families and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.
You may remember Dr. Byron from TV's Little Angels
and The House of Tiny Tearaways
. The Byron report is due out next month.
While publications such as MCV
have speculated on the side of melodrama and talked of fears that Gordon Brown will start an aggressive crackdown on games, The Guardian
is a little more realistic and discusses legally enforceable ratings as the likely result.
One thing not discussed by the newspaper however is who will actually issue new ratings. The BBFC is an obvious candidate, but that may not go down well with gamers who recall the Manhunt 2 fiasco
. Still, a solid and legal ratings system may not be a totally bad thing and should help keep inappropriate content out of the hands of children.
What do you think of ratings system and their place in interactive media? Let us know in the forums