UK video games industry trade group TIGA has written an open letter to European game content rating system PEGI calling for a review and adjustment of its pricing policy, which the groups claims is charging indie developers in the UK "unreasonably high and repetitious fees." TIGA wrote the letter in response to complaints from its members about PEGI’s pricing policy.
PEGI charges a developer a fee for content rating every time it launches a game on a different console platform, even if the content is exactly the same, according to TIGA. TIGA calls these fees "excessive and unreasonable," and recommends that the fee for age rating the same game content for different platforms should be waived entirely.
TIGA has warned PEGI that its approach risks hurting start-ups and small independent developers. The group also points out that "American game developers do not have to pay their equivalent ratings body, the ESRB, anything at all for rating identical content on additional platforms."
TIGA further suggests that PEGI examines the potential for delivering its rating system more efficiently. At present, PEGI carries out the rating process repeatedly for games on multiple platforms. TIGA suggests that instead developers could be offered the opportunity to sign a legally binding document stating the game content is identical. This would allow PEGI to provide a single multi-platform age rating, which in turn would save PEGI’s time and indie developers’ money. TIGA said that it would "be happy to work with one of its members, Stevens & Bolton LLP to draft this legally binding agreement and make it available for free to indie developers."
"The majority of UK and European games developers operate small studios where financial resources are limited and costs need to be kept to a minimum," said TIGA CEO Dr. Richard Wilson. "TIGA’s policy is to strengthen the game development and digital publishing sector, in particular by saving games businesses money and improving their access to finance. PEGI’s pricing policy imposes potentially damaging and unreasonably high fees, which have a disproportionate impact on small games businesses. It cannot be right to charge a developer a fee for content rating every time it launches a game on a different console platform even if the content is exactly the same."
"Significantly, US developers do not have to pay their equivalent ratings body, the ESRB, anything at all for rating identical content on additional platforms," he added. "Once again, UK and European developers are being put at a disadvantage. If the UK and European development sector is to thrive then we need a pricing policy from PEGI which is helpful, not a hindrance; is proportionate, not punitive; and is equitable, not exorbitant. TIGA is approaching PEGI to find a solution that fairly represents the interests of developers, digital publishers and consumers across Europe."