Supplementary memorandum from ELSPA (Entertainment
and Leisure Software Publishers Association)
In order to clarify part of his oral evidence
to the DCMS Select Committee with regards to the exponential increase
in games as they move on-line Director General of ELSPA, Paul
Jackson, would like the following to be taken into consideration:
The current online PC games market offers a
good indication of how the online games industry will develop.
Under the PC model, a consumer buys an introductory on-line game,
the player is then offered the opportunity to supplement that
game with the purchase of additional items to add to the gaming
experience. For example, in a lifestyle game you might buy additional
clothes, in a football game you might buy additional teams or
in a war game you might buy additional weapons. It is essential
to note that there have been instances whereby purchasing
an additional itemthe nature of the game has changed thereby
altering the appropriate age at which the game should be played.
Therefore the developing online gaming experience
requires the classification of two types of on-line content: The
initial game and then all additional products you can buy for
that game. For the correct classification of on-line gaming and
the protection of children, all games and additional content need
to be rated as some additional items might be suitable for different
By extension, we can accurately predict that
the next generation of games consoles will move in the same way
where all consoles posses the capability of a "live"
shop that provides registered users access to new or additional
content. Once logged into a game, the registered player will have
the opportunity to expand, upgrade or enhance their existing product.
This will require the correct classification of the content, and
appropriate restrictions if the age category is raised above that
of the original product.
As with all purchases on-line the speed with
which a consumer can access the market is infinitely faster than
via conventional means. As games move increasingly on-line publishers
will doubtless exploit this opportunity by continually looking
to offer additional experiences to their original purchase, thereby
massively increasing the number products to be rated. Therefore
in order to protect children it is vital that we have a classification
system which is capable of coping with the exponential explosion
of games and games products over the next few years.
This point is backed up on behalf of the industry
by Vice President of EA Games Keith Ramsdale who states:
"We believe over the next few years our
business will evolve towards a similar model we've trialled with
success in Korea with FIFA MSG. The difference being that instead
of a standalone MSG model we will use the technology to enhance
our existing boxed business. Our games will likely release in
their traditional fashion but then offer a post launch feature
service via the release of smaller game content offering year
round online. The future of our games will evolve from once a
year product ship to a sports entertainment service made up of
500+ game feature pieces released year round. We will be announcing
the first step in that direction for FIFA later this summer."