After what seems like an eternity of legislation limbo, PEGI age ratings for video games have become law in the UK today.
UKIE has done a great job of getting decent coverage of the achievement on the BBC this morning – all the more impressive considering the blanket reporting of the London Olympics that is currently dominating the nation’s consciousness.
The headline change is that it is now for the first time illegal to sell 12-rated video games to youngsters below that age.
But there’s more to it than that, of course. As outlined in Parliament’s Video Recordings (Labelling) Regulations 2012 legislation, games will now be classified by a single body – PEGI.
The actual rating process will be conducted by the Video Standards Council (VSC). It also means an end to BBFC ratings on the front of game cases.
Retailers who are found guilty of selling games to underage customers face a maximum sentence of six years in prison and a £5,000 fine. Those who sell titles without the necessary age-rating certificates could find themselves with a two-year jail sentence and an unlimited fine.
Trading Standard officers will, in the words of officials, “be working with all retailers over the next few months to help them manage the transition”.
“The UK has one of the most dynamic and innovative video games industries in the world, and the games they produce not only entertain millions, but can also educate and foster creativity,” culture minister Ed Vaizey stated.
“Today’s simplification of the ratings system benefits both industry and consumers and will help ensure that the millions of games sold in the UK each year are being played by the audiences they were intended for.”