Government pledges tougher games sales law
Disrespect Pegi, go to jail
The government is to toughen videogame sales regulations and introduce a legally enforceable 12 rating.
The Video Recordings (Labelling) Regulations (VRLRs) 2012 will put videogame classification solely in the hands of the Video Standards Council, an organisation formed to review video packaging.
Under the new regulations, the VSC will continue to set a game's age rating using the Pan-European Game Information (Pegi) system, an international ratings scheme, as it has done since 2010.
But from July, when the VRLRs are expected to come into force, games with photo-realistic graphics will no longer need be classified by the British Board of Film Classification too. The familiar BBFC ratings will then disappear from future games releases.
As the BBFC does now, the VSC will have the power to effectively ban the sale of a game by refusing to give the title an age rating. Selling a game that is not exempt from classification but has not yet been rated is against the law.
And, for the first time, the 12 rating will become legally enforceable alongside 16 and 18, rather than merely a guide for parents. Sell a 12-rated to an underage buyer and the retailer risks a prison sentence of up to six months and a five-grand fine.
If a retailer is caught selling a game that should have a rating but doesn't, such as an imported copy, the fine increases and potential jail time goes up to two years.
The move will please Labour MP Keith Vaz who has long campaigned against violent videogames and recently voiced his opinion that the Pegi system is ineffective. ®
"The move will please Labour MP Keith Vaz"
That alone suggests it's probably undesirable, much like the charming Mr Vaz himself.
The parents will buy them and the children will play them.
Is Uncle Vaz going to send an inspector to every home or will we have to sign a form and wear a.pledge ring to promise not toet children have access to the home pc and game console's.
This.is pure SOUND BITE LEGISLATION.
It has no relevance in the real world.
Re: Loosing the BBFC report is a pity
You are doing it wrong.
You seem to think that it's your job as a parent to look at what your children are doing rather than using the convenient "Yes or No" rating system.
I bet you are one of these terrible people who want to supervise their Internet activity as well rather than trusting the good old government to do it for you.
I remember playing 18 rated games before I was legal age - that big red 18 symbol was a "OMG its cool cos its got swears in it!" marker. How the fuck are kids of today going to know which games are the cool ones now!? PEGI logos look so uncool in comparison!
Thank you Mr Vag!
Loosing the BBFC report is a pity
As a parent I've found the full BBFC reports available from their website to be very useful in deciding whether to let my kids buy certain games. I don't know whether the VSC publish such details. I find the simple 12, 16 or 18 rating too simplistic. The last game I eldest bought was rated 16 and he isn't. But the primary reason for the rating was bad language. Well I'm sure he'll use worse language in the play ground, but he knows that if he uses in front of his mother he'll get busted. The full report gave me the information to make the decision to let him buy the game, where as a simplistic rating and tick box approach wouldn't.
So, as a parent, I won't welcome this move it is results in there being less information about content available to let me make informed decisions.