For those readers living outside of the UK shores, you may not be aware of the legality surrounding the different age rating used for games compared to the rest of the world (well the majority anyway). The current rating system copies the age ratings used for movies e.g. 12, 15 & 18 to guide parents on what is suitable for their kids to be playing, but video games are generally exempt from legal classification . Well, today the Video Standards Council (VSC) confirmed that the UK will formally implement PEGI rating from the 1st April, 2011.
Will it prevent parents letting their kids play the latest violent game? Of course not, you know this, I know this, everyone except the censors know this, but at least this means that we are one step closer to a universal rating system that everyone recognises.
The big question should be whether this will delay the launch of any games. Let us know your thoughts by leaving comments.
The Video Standards Council has confirmed that the proposed changes to the age ratings system for games in the UK will take effect from April 1, 2011.
Director-General of the VSC, Laurie Hall, said:
“Although we had hoped that it would be implemented sooner, we are very pleased that the Government has now given us a definite date for implementation of the PEGI ratings system.
Over the past year or so the VSC has been entirely restructured in terms of staff and other resources. There are some matters outstanding, but we will be fully up to speed and able to take on all our new responsibilities by the turn of the year.
We have consulted with retailers and acknowledge that January is probably not a good month for the new PEGI launch as they will be dealing with the Christmas break, and the January sales, not to mention the repercussions of the VAT change. It is important that all sectors of the industry are fully aware of the changes and ready to take on the legal and other implications. Subject to that we shall be ready in the event the start date is by any chance brought forward”
The Digital Economy Act has been passed in the UK but the sections of it dealing with video games have not yet been made effective. This means there is no change in the existing procedure for releasing games in the UK. If a game is rated PEGI 18 it must be submitted to the BBFC for a legal classification. Games must also be submitted to the BBFC if they contain any extraneous video which is not an integral part of the game such as trailers and adverts.
The Government has said the legislative change will be implemented on April 1st 2011. The VSC is involved in the discussions regarding the implementation of the new legislation and will ensure that everyone is properly informed in good time as to what the changes will mean in practice. In the meantime, there is no change to existing practices and procedures.
It is important to stress that no games must appear for sale in UK shops with a PEGI 18 logo prior to April 1st 2011.