In April, TIGA, the trade association representing the UK gaming industry, wrote an open letter to PEGI, the European age-rating organisation, suggesting an alternative to the charging of repeat fees for the rating of identical content on multiple platforms by PEGI. Our full report is contained without our previous blog available at TIGA seeks reform of PEGI’s “excessive and unreasonable” pricing policy in order to help UK and European video game developer sector thrive.

TIGA has now announced that it has received a response from PEGI Managing Director Simon Little. PEGI’s response apparently defended its current pricing policy and changes to the system to be implemented on 1 July which will make the lowest fees for content-rating available only to online or downloadable games under 250MB, regardless of budget. TIGA has reported that PEGI stated that its “fee per platform” approach was “not new” and noted that it had only implemented one price rise in five years.

A TIGA press release of 21 May provided that, while they were pleased to receive a response from Mr Little, they believe that PEGI’s response “misses the point” and that the fact that it already operates a fee per platform approach “is an inadequate justification for evaluating the necessity or value of change”. As was considered in our previous blog, TIGA observes that the current system burdens small games businesses (‘Indie’ developers) with disproportionate and excessive costs which could lead to development projects and companies going out of business, for example, where they are required to pay the same fees as the world’s biggest and highest grossing games companies.

TIGA has sent a further letter to PEGI, reiterating its offer to draft a legally binding agreement whereby developers confirm the identity of content submitted for additional platforms (removing the need for PEGI to re-review the game’s content and the justification for an additional fee), and asking PEGI to “explain explicitly why it cannot adopt this approach”.

Dr Richard Wilson, TIGA CEO, commented:

PEGI is operating a punitive pricing policy … We have serious concerns that PEGI’s current approach risks harming start-ups and small independent developers. TIGA wants a solution to PEGI’s pricing policy which fairly represents the interests of developers, digital publishers and consumers across Europe.”

Given that the new pricing tiers are to be put into practice next month, it will be interesting to see whether a substantive explanation rejecting TIGA’s proposed alternative will be forthcoming before PEGI implements these changes.

The Press Release from TIGA can be read in full here.