PEGI To Become Universal Age Rating System In The UK

PEGI To Become Universal Age Rating System In The UK

It will now be even clearer whether games feature dice, spiders, fists or syringes…

The Video Standards Council is now solely responsible for rating games released in the United Kingdom, as reported by the BBC. The previous hybrid rating system, whereby games were rated by either the BBFC (British Board of Film Clarification) or PEGI (Pan European Game Information) is being revamped so that by July all ratings will fall under PEGI’s Europe-wide guidelines.

“It will give parents greater confidence that their children can only get suitable games while we are creating a simpler system for industry having their games age-rated”, Creative Industries Minister Ed Vaizey explained. UKIE CEO Jo Twist added, “We are also in the planning stages of a major awareness campaign to help the public understand the system and other aspects of responsible gaming as soon as PEGI become law in the UK”.

Under the new system, anyone selling games to children under the age recommended by PEGI could face criminal sanctions.

While I’m sure the sentiments behind the PEGI system are in the right place, the system itself is stupid, patronising and fundamentally flawed. It operates under the assumption that no-one can be bothered to read any more, so where the BBFC would inform you as to whether “horror” was mild, moderate or strong, and whether it was violent, bloody or psychological, the PEGI systems lumps it all in under a big picture of a spider without any further explanation.

The “7+” rating is just ridiculous, and drives home the notion that gaming is ostracised among other forms of entertainment. A responsible parent willing to judge what will and won’t disturb their children can take them to see a 12A certificate film which may feature scenes of moderate, intense violence and some strong language. TV has the watershed, which does little. Literature has nothing. Meanwhile, those nasty violent video games have to be clamped down upon to ensure that those poor six-year-olds aren’t exposed to content that is perfectly fine for nine-year-olds. Seriously, who IDs a seven-year-old?

“Nudity”, “Sexual behaviour” and “Sexual references” all fall under the same Mars/Venus symbol which, again, offers no context for the nudity, sex or sex reference. The same issue goes for “gambling”, which gets its own separate symbol that would never be applied to other art forms. So Rounders doesn’t encourage or glamorise gambling, but Dead Or Alive: Paradise does? Give me a bloody break.

I’m not saying that any 5 year old should be able to walk into a store and buy GTA 4. It would just be nice to have some consistency. Just a bit. A tiny bit.

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