Brussels calls on industry to fix age ratings

The European video games industry must work harder to protect young people from violent software, the European Commission has concluded.

Following a survey of existing measures across the 27 EU Member States, the EC called for an official code of conduct over age classification to be drawn up within two years.

In the Commission’s view, industry must invest more to strengthen and in particular to regularly update the PEGI system so that it becomes a truly effective pan-European tool.

The body made no reference to the UK Government sponsored Byron Review, which recommended a trimming of PEGI’s powers – and an increase in the BBFC’s responsibilities.

"Video games have become a strong pillar of Europe’s content industry and are experiencing booming sales across Europe. This is welcome, but implies greater responsibility for the industry to ensure that parents know what kind of games their children play," said Viviane Reding, EU Commissioner for the Information Society and Media.

"PEGI, as an example of responsible industry self-regulation and the only such system with almost pan-European coverage, is certainly a very good first step. However, I believe it can be greatly improved, in Europe and beyond, by making the public more aware about its existence and fully implementing PEGI Online.

I also call on Member States and the industry to govern the sale of video games in shops to respect the fundamental need to protect minors."

The Commission has called for several measures in the European market:

– Regular improvement and better advertising of PEGI and PEGI Online by the video games industry;

– Member States should integrate PEGI into their own classification systems and raise awareness of PEGI, particularly parents and children;

– Cooperation on innovative age verification solutions between Member States, classification bodies and other stakeholders;

– A pan-European Code of Conduct on the sale of games to minors within two years, agreed by all stakeholders.

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