DEB what next for games industry?

The Digital Economy Bill is making its way into British law books, but with a General Election just weeks away the final chapter in the DEB’s story is still some way off. So what preparations should the industry be making?

I am delighted to inform you that the Digital Economy Bill was given Royal Assent earlier today,” a letter from director general Michael Rawlinson to ELSPA members reads. This means that PEGI, under the authority of the Video Standards Council (VSC), will become the sole classifier for video games in the UK.

However, because the General Election has been called, the exact timing of when VSC will get this power has not yet been agreed.

The next Parliament – which won’t meet until 18 May – must ‘designate’ the VSC as the games rating authority. Also, it must approve amendments to the Video Recordings (Labelling) Regulations. These are both relatively straightforward things, but they will take a little more time.

So what do you need to do next? In short, for now, nothing”.

Once the VSC has its new powers and the regulations are changed, there is likely to be a ‘cross-over’ period while the BBFC logos are phased out. All members should continue to submit games for classification as normal until further notice.

Please be assured that we will continue our dialogue with the Government and the VSC. We will inform you as and when the timetable for the formal change to an all-PEGI, VSC-led, system becomes clear.”

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