Tuesday, 31 July 2012

PEGI + Charity Update

Before I mention anything regarding today's videogame ratings hand-over from BBFC to PEGI I'd first like to update you all on my charity quiz evening.

A massive thank you to all those who took part. I know it wasn't a packed room, but seeing as it was my first time hosting such an event...I'm glad I didn't have to talk over a massive room of people. 6 teams took part in total, and thanks to everyone paying £2 to enter the quiz and then purchasing raffle tickets and cakes we managed to raise £120 for Special Effect!

Also, a massive thank you to my mum for baking a large fruit cake to be raffled off, along with some smaller cupcakes which could be purchased on the night.

Redshift Radio's 'Reboot' Show Co-host Edward with the cake he ended up winning!

And finally a huge thanks to Hollie Bennett, Namco Bandai's Community Manager, for bailing me out at the last minute with replacement prizes including signed posters of The Witcher 2 and Tales of Grace (of which both were raffled off, with the rest of the donated prizes going to the winning team).

I really enjoyed hosting the whole thing and I've already started thinking about another quiz on a larger scale (although I wouldn't expect it anytime soon).

So who won? It was the team below!

The red-hot favourites in my eyes, as they even had Blast Processor Mike in the squad. However, they were nearly beaten by a two-person team, if only they'd known the name of the 4th ghost from Pac-Man! Both teams came joint first, so the overall winners were declared via a 'Guess The Game' game, which for those who don't listen to the Blast Process Podcast basically involves giving the teams clues on a mysterious game, of which they then need to name.

Thanks again to all those involved. The money will be winging it's way to Special Effect's HQ this week to help those who ordinarily wouldn't get the opportunity to use game consoles and computers. While that may not sound like a great cause to everyone, I urge anyone who hasn't looked into this amazing charity to have a read of this page right here. I'd hope it would change your opinion.

And so, moving onto today's news on the gaming front. PEGI (Pan European Game Information) has taken the official legal reins from the BBFC (British Board of Film Classification) when it comes to videogame age ratings.

So, what does this mean?

Before today, a large number of videogames featured a BBFC rating (the round-shaped age rating). These ratings, by law, could not be sold to anyone below the age stated on the product. From today PEGI ratings (the square-shaped ones) will take over as the primary age rating on games, and as such will be illegal to sell to those under the age stated (apart from those rated 3+ and 7+).

PEGI ratings have been around for some time, although they were more so for guidance. From now on though they will be the only organisation that will be rating videogames. While games rated 18+ and 16+ have been around for a while it's now worth noting that 12+ games cannot now be sold to anyone under that age.

It's great for our industry to have one voice in the way games should be rated, and one that retailers should have no issues in adapting too (as I know PEGI has been abided by for some time anyway when recommending and selling games by some major retailers).

One other thing to come out of today's press is that the website AskAboutGames.com has been relaunched alongside PEGI taking over from the BBFC.

Simply put, the aforementioned website, in my eyes anyway, should be given a greater spotlight. While it's easy to blame retailers, publishers and developers for kids getting to play adult-rated videogames we all mustn't forget that a large number of parents/gift buyers buy games 'blind', by which I mean they are unaware of the content and importance of ratings when purchasing.

'Ask About Games' gives jargon-free advice on age ratings and general content within games. It's also a very social site, with several blogs and videos.

Like several other people within the industry I'd hope to not have to read another article involving violent games being blamed for an act involving a minor. Changing from two different age ratings to one UK market-wide system is great news, but we need to make sure that the message to all consumers is that the ratings are there for a reason.

Education is the key to stopping kids from playing games aimed at older audiences.

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