Features & News

PEGI age ratings legally enforceable in the UK

July 30, 2012, Author: Phil Ubee

Finally, we have some good news that our industry has been crying out for with the announcement that the PEGI (Pan European Game Information) age ratings are legally enforceable in the UK.

This is something that many of us at TIMJ have been calling on for sometime and is hopefully the first big step forward in dispelling the myth that video games are the biggest cause for anti-social and violent behaviour in young people.

“Retailers that sell titles with ratings of 12, 16 or 18 years to children below the age limits will be subject to prosecution.”

To prepare for the move, the government decided to drop a parallel ratings system run by the BBFC (British Board of Film Classification).

Organisers say it will help families “make informed decisions”.

In addition to the age ratings, packaging will also feature diagrams warning if the title includes bad language, drugs, discrimination, fear, gambling, sex, violence or online gameplay with other people.”

This move follows on from a simplification of the rating system in this country which has previously had a BBFC classification sitting alongside the PEGI rating which often contradicted the latter’s guidelines.

Under the new system, the Games Ratings Authority (GRA) – a division of the Hertfordshire-based Video Standards Council – will be responsible for rating titles using Pegi’s criteria:

  • Games are rated for 12-years and over if they include non-graphic violence to human or animal characters, a slightly higher threshold of violence to fantasy characters or significant nudity or bad language.
  • Games are rated 16-years and over if the depiction of violence or sexual activity looks the same as it would do in normal life. Drug and tobacco references also trigger the age limit.
  • Games are rated 18-years and over if there is a “gross” level of violence likely to make the viewer feel a sense of revulsion.”

Of course this does nothing to stop parents from buying in-appropriate games for their children, but my hope is that in making it illegal to sell adult games to minors, parents will finally realise the rating is there for a reason and act appropriately.

(Source: BBC News Technology)