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PEGI given the power to classify video games

Government gives PEGI power to rate video games.

Date 20/06/2009

Creative Industries Minister Siôn Simon has announced that PEGI (Pan European Game information) will be given the power to classify video games in the United Kingdom.

The decision requires new legislation to be passed through parliament, but when this is done the PEGI system for classifying video games will be adopted and the BBFC will no longer classify games.

The PEGI system will become the sole method of classifying video games in the UK. It will replace the current hybrid system in which the BBFC classifies some games, particularly those with very strong content. The Video Standards Council (VSC), will implement the PEGI classification system for all video games in the UK.

The Government’s decision is a change from the recommendations made by Dr Tanya Byron in her report 'Safer Children In a Digital World'.

The Director of the BBFC David Cooke said of the decision:

We have argued consistently that any games classification system needs to put child protection at its heart. It must involve consultation with the British public, command their trust, and reflect their sensibilities. It must take account of tone and context and be carried out by skilled and knowledgeable examiners. It needs to involve the provision of full, helpful and carefully weighed information to parents and the public more generally. It must have the power and will to reject or intervene in relation to unacceptable games or game elements. It should make a substantial contribution to media education, for example through dedicated websites and through work with pupils, students and teachers. It must be speedy and cost effective. It must have the capabilities to monitor online gameplay and to attract new members to online classification schemes. And it must be independent in substance as well as appearance, reaching its decisions and providing information on the basis of its own detailed assessments.

“The BBFC has always supported PEGI and wished it well, but it continues to believe that it satisfies these requirements better than PEGI. However, it will cooperate fully in the detailed work needed to give effect to the Government’s decision.”

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