Published: 29th July 2012

Classification of video games


From 30 July and with a few limited exceptions, the responsibility for classifying video games falls to the Video Standards Council, applying the PEGI system.

The BBFC will continue to classify all games featuring strong pornographic (R18 level) content and ancillary games attached to a wider, primarily linear submission.

The BBFC will also examine and offer a determination on certain linear content in video games.  This determination will help the Video Standards Council in reaching an overall classification for the video game.  The BBFC will offer a determination for linear content which does not contribute to the narrative drive of the game, whether this footage is live action or computer generated; embedded in the game or simply contained on the game disc.  Examples of such linear content include the TV material created for the GTA series; video rewards for completing certain tasks or levels within the game; or other video content which does not contribute to the narrative drive of the video game.

The BBFC will continue to classify all non-game linear content on a game disc, such as trailers and featurettes.

If you are in doubt as to whether the BBFC should be classifying your content, please contact the BBFC Helpline on +44 207 440 0299 or

Pornographic game content will attract a standard BBFC certificate.  But we may only issue an R18 certificate.  We will charge the standard rate, in full for this classification.

If a game is submitted with other linear content to which it is ancillary, it will attract a standard classification certificate.  If it being submitted on its own, it may only receive a conditional certificate.  The conditional certificate will state that the classification only applies provided the classified work is released as part of a wider package consisting primarily of linear content.  We will charge the standard fee, in full for the classification.

If you wish us to determine the suitability of linear content within a video game, this will attract a fee of 75% of the standard rate.  The lower rate reflects the BBFC’s lower costs.  For example, we will not archive such content or issue certificates of evidence in relation to such content.

For such content, we will issue a certificate of determination, not a regular classification certificate.  We will send this certificate both to the submitting company and to the VSC.  We will also send the submission itself to the VSC which is responsible for giving an overall classification, taking into account our determination, and for maintaining the statutory archive.