In order to get a game published in the EU, developers need to get it rated via the PEGI system. But, before a game can be given a rating, developers and publishers must first fork over hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars.
Speaking with Gamasutra, Zachtronics Founder Zach Barth mentioned his frustration with the system, and said that the policy is harmful to indie developers.
We have to work with them, and they have some crazy policies that are not cool for indies. You can’t put your game on an Xbox or PlayStation without a PEGI rating, and they charge thousands of dollars.
Happion Lacs Frontman Jamie Fristrom also spoke to Gamasutra about the issue, and explained that “the big cost of shipping in Europe” for indie developers is due to the PEGI system.
It used to be that localization would have been the big expense to release in Europe, but the costs of loc. keep dropping and often indies can get it done for free by tapping their communities, so that PEGI license becomes the big cost of shipping in Europe.
On the other end of the matter, Dirk Bosmans, a Communication Manager for PEGI, explained that a large part of the agency’s income comes from the fees, so it seems unlikely that the system will change.
Our money comes from fees that publishers pay to get a ratings license…that’s basically our only source of income. When we were at the height of the console cycle, there were lots of games. That’s come down in the past few years, so obviously our income is shrinking.
A couple of years ago, if you’d asked me [whether PEGI fees have a chilling effect on European game releases], the answer probably would have been no, because in order to release a game in a box on a shelf you’d need a lot of funds. But because digital is so much more accessible, it’s much easier to release a game, but we still charge the same.
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