The familiar BBFC ratings are to be dropped from UK games, in favor of the Eurocentric PEGI system.
For the last few years, many games in the UK have carried two different ratings, one from the BBFC, and the other a PEGI rating. In all that time, it’s been the BBFC rating that has been legally enforceable and the PEGI rating has been purely for information purposes. But all that is about to change as the BBFC ratings are to be dropped in favor of the PEGI ratings.
Creative Industries Minister Siôn Simon said of the change, “The UK already has a robust system of classification for films and DVDs run by the BBFC. The new system of games classification will match those high standards as this important market continues to evolve.”
In a statement to the House of Commons, the lower house of the UK Parliament, Lord Carter, Minister for Communications, Technology and Broadcasting said that the PEGI rating system would be a base and that UK specific legislation would we implemented along side it.
“We will implement a new, more robust system of content classification for the videogames industry, building on PEGI system with a strong UK-based statutory layer of regulation, ensuring the protection of children now, and in the future,” Lord Carter said in his introductory statement.
With the PEGI system now legally enforceable, very little has changed on paper, but as a UK gamer, I question the wisdom of dumping a well-recognized rating system for its lesser-known cousin. If consumers couldn’t figure out what was appropriate for their children when games carried the same rating symbols used on movies and DVDs, I’m not quite sure what a new rating system is really going to achieve.
Of course, I’m 28, so it doesn’t really affect me either way.