The majority of parents are unlikely to check video game age ratings when buying presents for Christmas, it has been revealed.
New research from the Association for UK Interactive Entertainment (UKIE) shows that only 40% of parents buy games with an age rating that the games raters think are appropriate for their children
43% said that they checked ratings but didn't necessarily stick to them, presumably because they did not agree with them.
Some 59% parents buying games for their children say they are likely to play the game with their child.
UKIE CEO Dr Jo Twist said:
PEGI ratings on all UK games give clear and simple guidance on the suitability of games for different age audiences and if parents need further guidance on what these ratings mean they can visit Ask About Games.
We'd urge parents to use this really helpful tool to ensure that playing games has the biggest positive impact on their children and family as a whole this Christmas.
Taking an idea from the BBFC, the Game Rating Authority, the UK's new game censor, writes on its website:
Additional Consumer Information (ACI) supplements the pictorial descriptor information visible on game packaging by offering consumers rather more in the way of written, descriptive details concerning the game content.
This brief, easily digestible information allows consumers to see at a glance the key issue(s) that resulted in the rating given and, more importantly, also shows the strength and frequency of a particular rating's issue (sex, bad language,
The ACI also gives a brief outline of the game in question and whether it is also playable online with other gamers. This additional information should ensure that consumers, and parents in particular, can make informed purchasing decisions on
behalf of their children.
However the games search doesn't seem to be working at the moment.
From 30 July and with a few limited exceptions, the responsibility for classifying video games falls to the Video Standards Council, applying the PEGI system.
The BBFC will continue to classify all games featuring strong pornographic (R18 level) content and ancillary games attached to a wider, primarily linear submission.
The BBFC will also examine and offer a determination on certain linear content in video games. This determination will help the Video Standards Council in reaching an overall classification for the video game. The BBFC will offer a determination
for linear content which does not contribute to the narrative drive of the game, whether this footage is live action or computer generated; embedded in the game or simply contained on the game disc. Examples of such linear content include the TV
material created for the GTA series; video rewards for completing certain tasks or levels within the game; or other video content which does not contribute to the narrative drive of the video game.
The BBFC will continue to classify all non-game linear content on a game disc, such as trailers and featurettes.
The much-delayed implementation of PEGI as the sole UK video game rating system is now expected to come into force on July 30.
Games will be more or less self rated using PEGI age classifications of 7,12,16 and 18, along with comments about the type of content. The Games Rating Authority (GRA), a division of the Video Standards Council (VSC), will oversee the ratings
process, with powers to ban and censor where necessary.
Meanwhile Resident Evil 6 may be one of the last major games to obtain a BBFC certificate. (The cover is already sporting a PEGI rating on advance publicity pictures).
The Games Rating Authority, a part of the Video Standards Council, will take over video games censorship from the BBFC next month. The group will use PEGI ratings and symbols, as used across Europe, eg age restrictions will be set at 12, 16 and 18.
The PEGI ratings have been used for sometime on games not featuring realistic video but now they will be used for all games.
Laurie Hall is the director general of the Video Standards Council, the organisation that handles the PEGI rating process in the UK. For clarity sake the Video Standards Council will use the name Games Rating Authority for its new role.
The new mantra for the GRA will be: Games aren't just for kids. Be responsible . For Hall, the real problem is with parents not realising that games content can now be every bit as graphic as anything in a movie. A lot of parents wouldn't allow
their 12-year-old to watch an '18'-rated film, Hall agrees: But play an '18'-rated game? They're more inclined to. We've got to get the message across.
PEGI is stricter than the BBFC, insists Hall somewhat censorially: We're not ashamed of that at all, because the methodology of rating films is not appropriate for rating games. Games and films are totally different
And with the enthusiasm of a new censor, he stresses: We will have the power to ban a game in the UK. And he outlines the process for banning games, that he considers transparent, fair and legally tight, and which required the Government's
An Appeals Panel has been set-up, chaired by Baroness Kennedy, a barrister. And beyond that, there's an Expert Advisory Panel, comprising Tanya Byron, media violence specialist Dr Guy Cumberbatch, and Geoffrey Roberston QC.
Why we set up the Expert Advisory Panel is the ability to ban a game under the law is very complex - it's an expert matter. We can only ban something if it is likely to cause harm to the viewer or society in general. You interpret that!
The Panel will not be making the decision - what they will do is advise the designated officers of the factors they must consider in reaching their decision. It was put in place to make sure if a banning decision ever was made it was as watertight as it
possibly could be.
The Video Standards Council announced this morning that the Department for Culture Media & Sport (DCMS) has confirmed their intention to
appoint the organization as the regulator for rating games in the United Kingdom using the PEGI system used for the rest of Europe. The DCMS has informed the UK Parliament of their intentions.
Laurie Hall, Director-General of the VSC said:
This news is very welcome and gives us the mandate to undertake the role of statutory video games regulator in the UK. It is role that we will relish and which will ensure that children and younger people are protected and kept safe from
inappropriate video games.
It has been a long and arduous task to arrive at this point and we thank all those involved in helping to establish PEGI as the legally recognised system. All the necessary administrative and technical systems are in place and we are simply
awaiting confirmation of when we can officially start. The VSC has been rating video games since 1994. We will use our wealth of skill and experience to good effect in our new role as the national video games regulator.
No official date has been set but July this year has been mentioned several times.
Update: New Rules
21st May 2012. From gamepolitics.com
The Video Standards Council (VSC) has issued a press release announcing details on how the PEGI ratings system will work in the United Kingdom.
Video games rated PEGI 3 and 7 will remain advisory, but games in higher rating categories, PEGI 12, 16 and 18 will become mandatory and enforceable under the law. Games rated under these categories cannot be sold to individuals
below the age-restriction shown on the packaging. If retailers sell games to an individual who is not in the prescribed age group, it may result in heavy fines or, in severe cases, even imprisonment. The VSC notes that these rules apply to
online retailers as well as high street stores. (In the past PEGI ratings have been advisory, but BBFC ratings have already been mandatory with the banking of criminal sanctions).
Since PEGI and VSC are not enforcement agencies, they will pass on any reported breaches of the law to Trading Standards Officials, who will handle prosecutions.
Games featuring the depiction of real sex will still be classified by the BBFC.
The new rules are not retrospective and do not apply to games sold under the previous rules.
Nearly three years ago, PEGI was selected to be the organisation to rate videogames, and passed into law in 2010 as part of the Digital Economy Bill, but due to issues behind-the-scenes its full implementation has been delayed.
Now Dr. Jo Twist UKIE, the UK trade group representing the video game industry, said:
Our next major campaign launches this summer to promote PEGI and to demystify video games to parents.
This campaign will launch when PEGI is finally implemented. PEGI is indeed progressing and the latest estimated implementation date is this July.
Keith Vaz has been casting doubt on PEGI ratings suggesting that these require further government scrutiny
As usual Vaz has voiced his concerns via an Early Day Motion 2761 in Parliament saying:
That this House notes that:
Tiga, the trade body representing independent UK video games developers, has come out in support of targeted tax relief for the games industry;
encourages tax relief for small and medium-sized enterprises for its role in generating and safeguarding jobs, especially in these current difficult times;
remains concerned that regulation of the video games industry is lacking in comparison to other industries; is anxious that the Pan European Game Information (PEGI) classification of video games is taken as seriously as the British Board of Film
Classification by both retailers and shoppers;
wishes the public was more aware of the risks to children and young adults;
and calls on the Government to place more scrutiny on the PEGI classification system.
The only signature supporting the motion so far is sponsor Mike Hancock.