Why new PEGI age guidance is a good thing for videogames

How the latest PEGI rating system might just be the tonic the gaming industry needs to start being taken seriously.

In the last few days of July the PEGI rating system for videogames passed into law. That means that selling a game that bears a PEGI age rating of 12 or over to anyone younger than that is now a crime, punishable by a fine of £5000 and up to six years in prison. It also means that the BBFC ratings, those familiar circular icons that appear on films as well, will disappear from our box art.

This is a move that’s been far too long in coming, and one that will hopefully act as a final nail in the coffin to the confusion surrounding videogame content and its suitability for younger children. It is not censorship, rather it’s common sense, and it’s rare that we get to celebrate feats of common sense in this industry.

The PEGI system enables a parent or a guardian to make an informed choice about the games their children get to play, and it also gives retailers a stronger reason to refuse to sell products to people who aren’t mature enough to deal with the content they contain. But at the same time a stronger enforcement means a stronger defence when games come under fire.

In other words, there’s now recourse when a child is found playing something unsuitable, there’s a way to make sure that everyone involved in the purchase chain understands the consequence of providing a minor with a game they’re not ready for.

For too long some parents have equated the age ratings on games with the challenge level that they present. The ‘My Johnny’s playing this and it’s meant for much older people’ effect. The use of the BBFC symbols was supposed to act as a counter to that, but it largely failed, mainly down to a lack of enforcement on both sides of the counter.

With the new PEGI guidance that’s all set to change, but this is a move that’s not just about legal ramifications. Responsibility is going to have to play a large part in creating and sustaining a workable model of videogame distribution. Responsibility on the part of the retailer to make sure they challenge and question where necessary, and responsibility on the part of the parent or guardian to make sure they stay informed.

The danger with rating systems is they can deflect that responsibility, passing the buck from parent to retailer and back again. That’s why we need to encourage a system that doesn’t just point the finger when something goes wrong, but engages with both sides of the debate, creating a dialogue that others can learn from.

Videogames aren’t just for children any more, and never really have been (as any gamer will tell you). The PEGI decision will hopefully be the first step in a long journey towards the mainstream accepting that.

Yes, there are games that are designed for younger players, but this is a multi-billion selling industry with experiences aimed at everyone from your pet cat to pensioners, and we need a system that understands that.

More than that though, we need a system that encourages people to stay informed, and hopefully that’s something PEGI can do.

Suggested Topics
peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Lewis Hamilton will start the Singapore Grand Prix from pole, with Nico Rosberg second and Daniel Ricciardo third
F1... for floodlit Singapore Grand Prix
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvHe is only remaining member of original cast
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Gabriel Agbonlahor, Alexis Sanchez, Alan Pardew and Graziano Pelle
footballAfter QPR draw, follow Villa vs Arsenal, Newcastle vs Hull and Swansea vs Southampton
New Articles
i100... she's just started school
New Articles
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
New Articles
i100... despite rising prices
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    Graduate BI Consultant (Business Intelligence) - London

    £24000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Graduate BI Consultant (B...

    Service Delivery Manager (Product Manager, Test and Deployment)

    £40000 - £55000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Service Delivery Manager (Product Ma...

    Technical Product Marketing Specialist - London - £70,000

    £50000 - £70000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Cloud Product and Solutions Marketin...

    Trainee Helpdesk Analyst / 1st Line Application Support Analyst

    £18000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established and growing IT Consultancy fir...

    Day In a Page

    Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

    Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

    Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
    Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

    Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

    The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
    The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

    Scrambled eggs and LSD

    Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
    'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

    'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

    Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
    Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

    New leading ladies of dance fight back

    How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam