Currently video games are subject to two classification bodies, PEGI and BBFC, with the latter only used for more adult software.
PEGI is a voluntary system, with the ratings carried out by members of the industry itself. This takes place by means of a self-assessment form. Ratings proposed by the publishers are checked by NICAM, with all 12, 16 and 18+ ratings checked and some 3 and 7+ looked over.
The BBFC comes in for particular games that contain one or more of the following:
– Gross acts of violence towards humans or animals
– Horrific behaviour or incidents
– Human sexual activity
– Criminal behaviour
As it stands, games that do not contain any of the above can be exempt from statutory classification. However, individual publishers and developers can still submit their game to the BBFC if they see fit.
Dr Tanya Byron’s report suggests that the BBFC should be used for all classification.