Video Standards Council to take over games age ratings

Person buys Grand Theft Auto IV Violent titles, such as Rockstar Games' Grand Theft Auto, will now be rated by the Video Standards Council

Related Stories

The system by which video games are rated in the UK is to be made "simpler and stronger", the government has said.

Games will now be rated by the Video Standards Council (VSC) in line with Europe-wide guidelines.

Previously, additional ratings were decided upon by the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC).

The new system means for the first time that anybody selling a 12-rated game to a child under that age could face jail.

The Pan European Game Information system (Pegi) gives games an age rating as well as additional information such as violent content and bad language.

The VSC will now rate games to Pegi's specifications while enforcing compliance among retailers.

The new ratings do not apply to games bought online.

'Much-needed clarity'

Creative Industries Minister Ed Vaizey said: "It will give parents greater confidence that their children can only get suitable games while we are creating a simpler system for industry having their games age-rated."

While the BBFC will now largely stop assessing content in games, it will still be called upon to judge games with gross violence or sexual material.

Games and entertainment body Ukie said the new system provides "much needed clarity for consumers".

"We are also in the planning stages of a major awareness campaign to help the public understand the system and other aspects of responsible gaming as soon as Pegi become law in the UK," Ukie chief executive Jo Twist said.

Richard Wilson, from UK games industry trade association Tiga, said the changes were a necessary "evolutionary" step.

"It simplifies the system," he told the BBC.

"The Pegi system is reasonably easy to understand.

"The fact there are criminal sanctions in place will mean that retailers will want to train and support their staff."

The new system is expected to come into force by July this year.

More on This Story

Related Stories

More Technology stories

RSS

Features

  • RihannaCloud caution

    After celebrity leaks, what can you do to safeguard your photos?


  • Cesc FabregasFair price?

    Have some football clubs overpaid for their new players?


  • Woman and hairdryerBlow back

    Would banning high-power appliances actually save energy?


  • Rack of lambFavourite feast

    Is the UK unusually fond of lamb and potatoes?


  • Members of staff at James Stevenson Flags hold a Union Jack and Saltire flag UK minus Scotland

    Does the rest of the UK care if the Scots become independent?


BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.