PEGI will become the sole ratings agency for British videogames.
Regardless of whether videogames can inspire real-world violence, it’s fairly unambiguous to state that certain games are not for children. To this end, the United Kingdom has long employed the Pan European Game Information (PEGI) ratings system to inform consumers of a given game’s content. On July 30, 2012, PEGI will gain some legal weight in Great Britain, eliminating the secondary British Board of Film Classification rating and making it possible to sanction retailers for selling inappropriate games to minors.
“We very much believe that the sole adoption of PEGI will provide clear and consistent direction on age ratings for parents,” says Jo Twist, CEO of the Association for UK Interactive Entertainment (UKIE). “[It] will be a vital tool in helping them to understand the types of games that their children should be playing.” Up until now, games depicting graphic sex and/or violence would receive a secondary rating from the BBFC in addition to PEGI’s. The decision to give PEGI sole ratings responsibility also means that its ratings will become legally binding: shopkeepers who sell mature games to underage customers could face charges for their noncompliance.
Twist reiterates that Parliament works on its own schedule, and that the July 30 date is “technically still subject to Parliamentary scrutiny and therefore open to possible small delays.” The PEGI turnover may not drastically change the way British videogame sales work, as the BBFC rating on mature games was technically legally binding as well. However, it’s sure to bring about a new round of “retailer responsibility vs. governmental oversight” questions for the island nation. If nothing else, this development demonstrates that PEGI has proven its worth in the eyes of Parliament, and will hopefully do so for investigative parents and caretakers, too.