ELSPA (the Entertainment & Leisure Software Publishers Association) was founded in 1989 to establish a specific and collective identity for the British computer and video game industry. It was known as The European Leisure Software Publishers Association until 2002.
Between 1994 and Spring 2003 ELSPA voluntarily rated computer games released in Britain that were exempt from legal classification by the BBFC. The ratings given were originally 3-10, 11-14, 15-17 and 18+. Red "X"s would highlight which age group a title was not suitable for, while a tick in the categories above that would indicate the suitable ages. The ratings were later simplified to a 3+, 11+, 14+ or 18+ as appropriate. This has now been replaced by a European ratings system called PEGI.
ELSPA are responsible for providing sales charts for computer games sold in the United Kingdom, and promoting anti-piracy initiatives.
Grand Theft Auto game ratings
In the UK, all Grand Theft Auto games were subject to classification from the BBFC, and as such, no ELSPA rating was ever given to a GTA game there. In the rest of Europe, the majority of GTA games were rated by countries own ratings boards. In fact the only GTA game known to have received a rating from ELSPA is Grand Theft Auto III, which is 18+.
All GTA games released after Grand Theft Auto: Vice City were of course rated by PEGI instead, as by then ELSPA had stopped its rating system.
- BBFC, the British media rating system
- ESRB, the United States and Canadian computer and video game rating system
- PEGI, the European computer and video game rating system
- USK, the German computer and video game rating system
- OFLC, the Australian media rating system
- OFLC (NZ), the New Zealand media rating system
- CERO, the Japanese computer and video game rating system