Five reasons why the Byron Review is great news for gamers

4) Purchase decisions will be made easier
While she doesn't claim to have all the answers, noting that further research in to the effects of violent games on developing minds is clearly a worthy exercise, Dr Byron does point out that the industry itself is morally sound at every level, from the developers right through to retail. Stating that the industry is aware of the concerns and wants to get it right has done wonders for our favourite past-time's integrity in the public's eyes. And if it hasn't done yet, the suggested educational campaign almost certainly will.

She also points out in her review that the PEGI rating causes some confusion. Unlike the BBFC rating on some games,it doesn't make it illegal for someone under the PEGI age to buy the game.

There's also confusion over the meaning of the PEGI guideline icons (pictured)as the discrimination sticker is often mistaken for a 'multiplayer' symbol and the interlinked gender symbols are mistaken for meaning 'suitable for a boy or girl' instead of meaning 'sexual content'. She points out that there are websites, but there really should be more explanation at point of sale.

Looking at it fromthe parent's point of view, knowing what the child will be experiencing when they play the game is vital. Currently, the 'it's just a game so it can't do any harm' mindset is certainly part of the problem.

Byron also talks of thefact that only games with more obviously mature content get sent to the BBFC. As a result, '18' and '15' ratings come back, whereas PEGI is allowed to rate games at '12+', but it has no legal meaning. She states:

"I do not think that only putting ’adult’ games on a statutory footing is sufficient to inform parents of potential risks or to protect children from potential risks. One way to strengthen the current system would be to extend the requirement for statutory classification to games which currently attract a 12+ rating...

"This would mean that selling any game rated 12+ and above to a child under that age would become a criminal offence."

If Byron's suggestions are indeed followed in full, we should not only see game boxes become much clearer over what the game contains, but also ensure children are not exposed to adult themes before they are ready for them. And that can only be a good thing.

5) Non-gamers will be educated
If every soap-box bothering non-gamer could read the report, a few opinions would certainly be changed. Ignorance is part of the underlying problem here, and while the ignorant may cling to their usual arguments, they seem comparatively baseless up against the Byron report. For so much sense to be spoken – for games to be discussed intelligently in this way – it's very difficult to argue against it. And the high-profile media exposure the report is having, along with the generally good reception can only be good for gaming's credibility.

In conclusion
While the review is only a recommendation to the Prime Minister and not immediately 'the law' just like that, Gordon Brown has said on national TVthat he intends to follow the recommendations fully. We really do hope this isn't just going to be forgotten about, as it's a huge leap forward and we can only see good coming from it.

Check out the full PDF of the Byron Review here.

Justin Towell

Justin was a GamesRadar staffer for 10 years but is now a freelancer, musician and videographer. He's big on retro, Sega and racing games (especially retro Sega racing games) and currently also writes for Play Magazine,, PC Gamer and TopTenReviews, as well as running his own YouTube channel. Having learned to love all platforms equally after Sega left the hardware industry (sniff), his favourite games include Christmas NiGHTS into Dreams, Zelda BotW, Sea of Thieves, Sega Rally Championship and Treasure Island Dizzy.