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New Pegi videogame ratings designed

Out with the BBFC?

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Redesigned age rating and content classification symbols for videogames released in the UK have been revealed.

Pegi_age

Pegi's age ratings will join the BBFC age symbols

The new Pan-European Game Information (Pegi) symbols following a recent decision reached by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) to make Pegi the sole age ratings system for games in the UK.

Pegi ratings consist of two parts: an age-suitability rating of 3, 7, 12, 16 or 18, each of which has a colour-coded background. Age 3 titles, for example, have a green background. Red is the background of choice for 18-rated games.

But to help buyers understand what sorts of content a game contains, Pegi's existing logos - which already feature on the covers of many games – will also be displayed.

For example, a spider, hypodermic needle and fist indicate that a game contains scary content, drug references and violence, respectively.

The Pegi system is backed by several high-profile organisations from the videogames industry, including the Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers Association (Elspa), which believes games should be rated by publishers and developers rather than an indepenendent body. Games are currently certified by the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC).

Following the DCMS’ approval of Pegi, Mike Rawlinson, Director General of Elspa, proudly proclaimed that the government has “made absolutely the right decision for child safety”.

The decision “will ensure that games ratings stay relevant and adapt to the changing nature of videogames for many years to come”, he claimed.

The BBFC maintained a stiff upper lip and promised to cooperate fully in the detailed work needed to give effect to the government’s decision.

But Pegi supporters may be jumping the gun. The BBFC's game certification is mandated by British law – a situation that can't change unless the las does too.

A BBFC spokeswoman confirmed to Register Hardware that a Pegi-only system “will require legislation”. That seems unlikely before the next election, which is, at most, a year away. ®

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