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New system for rating video games
Changes to video game age ratings mean anyone selling a 12-certificate game to a child under that age in the UK could be jailed
A new simpler and stronger age rating system for video games has come into force.
The new arrangement is designed to stop inappropriate games being sold to children under the age of 12 and give the industry more straightforward rules for rating games according to age, the Government has said.
All games sold in the UK will be regulated under the Europe-wide PEGI (Pan European Game Information) scheme.
To this point, the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) has provided 15 and 18 certificates that are legally enforceable here. However the BBFC was never tasked with providing 12 certificates for video games, meaning it was technically legal to sell a 12-rated game to younger children.
The new system will end the BBFC's role in rating video games, unless they contain explicit sexual content that warrants an R18 rating, but make all PEGI ratings made by the UK-based Video Standards Council (VSC) legally enforceable. The changes mean anyone selling a 12-certificate game to a child under that age in the UK could be jailed.
The PEGI system is specifically designed for video games and the age rating on the packaging will be accompanied by information about the type of content that led to it.
The VSC will have the power to refuse to grant an age-rating for a video game if it includes extreme content, meaning it would not be allowed to be sold in the UK.
Dr Jo Twist, chief executive of Ukie (the Association of UK Interactive Entertainment) said: "As we mark the start of PEGI as the single video game age rating system, we're delighted to use the opportunity to help parents to make informed decisions about which video games to choose for their family.
"A key way we're doing this is through the relaunch of www.askaboutgames.com. We'd urge parents to use this really helpful tool to ensure that playing video games has the biggest positive impact on their children and family as a whole.
"We very much believe that the sole adoption of PEGI will provide clear and consistent direction on age ratings for parents and will be a vital tool in helping them to understand the types of games that their children should be playing."