UK PEGI Game Ratings Get Revamp on April 1, 2011 and Will Be Legally Enforceable

By Brian Leahy, Jul 16, 2010 3:20pm PDT In the UK, the PEGI ratings system will replace the BBFC classification as the legally-binding ratings sytem for video games.

Currently, PEGI ratings are not legally enforceable, but will become so after the Digital Economy Act takes effect on April 1, 2011. Until that time, all games with a PEGI 18 rating must be submitted to the BBFC for classification in order to be sold in UK stores.

In the US, the ESRB rates games, but the classifications are not legally binding, merely suggestions. The US video game industry self-regulates with most retailers refusing to sell mature games to minors. In the UK, this is law under the BBFC and will be under PEGI when it takes effect.

In the end, this will just serve as a different way to keep mature-rated games out of the hands of minors. Whether or not this is a legal issue is a matter of opinion.

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6 Threads | 19 Comments

  • The UK government is accepting a Pan-European unified ratings system that has been successfully introduced in more than 30 countries by now and some people miss the point entirely. They could've exerted pressure on the BBFC, a national non-governmental body, if they wanted to. Now, it's basically impossible for them to control it nationally, and the UK's limited exposure into EU matters on the same territory denies them any influence there as well.

    PEGI has no mechanics to censor a game. It is strictly rating the content. This classification is then legally binding in most, if not all, countries of Europe. They can't just magically legislate around that.

    This is exactly why German politicians went batshit crazy in their effort to keep PEGI out of Germany in 2003/2004. Okay, part of that is because, matter-of-fact, German politicians are the most vile, ignorant and repugnant beings you could ever encounter. But mostly they didn't want to lose their precious censoring authority over a new medium that they neither understood nor had any real interest in.