PEGI becomes UK law today

Monday, 30th July 2012 09:32 GMT By Dave Cook

PEGI age classification for games becomes law in the UK today, making it illegal for retailers to sell games to anyone under age.

Although it feels as though it’s been around for ages, PEGI is now officially UK law from today, enforcing the standard on retailers everywhere.

The PEGI age classification system completely replaces the classic BBFC ratings, which will no longer be used.

PEGI also comes with harsh penalties for anyone found to be selling games to anyone under age, such as a £5,000 fine and up to six years in prison.

Culture minister Ed Vaizey chipped in with his own thoughts on the PEGI standard: “The UK has one of the most dynamic and innovative video games industries in the world, and the games they produce not only entertain millions, but can also educate and foster creativity.

“Today’s simplification of the ratings system benefits both industry and consumers and will help ensure that the millions of games sold in the UK each year are being played by the audiences they were intended for.”

Thanks MCV.



  1. rapsound

    So there’s no way me buying Assassin’s Creed III, I guess -.-

    #1 2 years ago
  2. GrimRita

    I really dont know why they bother. Most parents dont give a shit about age ratings and then run to the newspapers when something goes wrong.

    Retailers do more than enough to advise parents about ratings but are given 2 fingers when parents say ‘Oh but (insert name of fat child here) wants it’

    #2 2 years ago
  3. John117

    If this actually ensured that no kid got a 18 rated game then CoD would sell atleast 40-50% less. Though only in the UK :P
    Atleast the retailer can say to the parents that it’s illegal by law to sell m-rated games to kids so maybe that should make them think twice…

    #3 2 years ago
  4. Hirmetrium

    GrimRita, you seem to have a very funny view of the industry.

    It works like such – an ignorant parent will walk into a video game store, and ask “what is a good game for such and such?” and then the clerk will suggest appropriate games. When the parent says “oh, but I heard about game X” and the clerk, whom is driven to make a sale to keep his day to day job says “oh, its here”. Since its an adult buying, they sell.

    The problem is not in any way related to retailers. It’s about public awareness and knowledge penetration. Retailer’s will not go out of their way to inform the public – they want sales. Ask any employee, and that’s their driver. They don’t like or enjoy that part of the job, but it pays their bills. It’s the same with Gamestop and preorders, and other places with their extended warranties and pre-owned pushes.

    I still do not see how this system will work. There has been NO advertising. NO awareness. At least parents were familiar with the BBFC having grown up with it. This, however, is just another half arsed atempt to tackle a huge problem. If it had a campaign similar to the digital switchover, it would work. But it won’t.

    #4 2 years ago
  5. GrimRita

    Parents are aware. They totally understand the old system and probably the new system.

    But I guess this is no different when we were of that age trying to sneak in to an 18 rated movie at the tender age of 15-16.

    @4 you are totally wrong. Any Store Manager reminds their staff about the law and lets not forget, all those consumer bodies out there send in secret squirrels to test retailers for under age selling.

    If a parent is informed and they still want the game, there is nothing the staff can do as its being SOLD to an adult. Parents simply need to grow some bollocks and stop blaming everyone else but themselves for being irresponsible

    #5 2 years ago
  6. bitsnark


    This, this and fucking this.

    I’ve completely lost count of the sheer amount of shit parents who bought games for their kids which were unsuitable and then when you ask them if they’re aware of the content contained therein, they shrug their shoulders and hastily thrust that copy of Shooty Gore Theft Auto 4 into Little Tommy’s grubby paws and shuffle out of the shop.


    GrimRita is right, they need to sort their sodding lives out and buy the appropriate games for the appropriate age of sprog that they have instead of letting ignorance be their guide.

    #6 2 years ago
  7. freedoms_stain

    @4. that’s interesting.

    I guess when I witnessed an HMV employee refuse to sell an age restricted title to an older Spanish kid because he saw a younger kid give him the money for it was what? a one off?

    #7 2 years ago
  8. SplatteredHouse

    lol. That’s all silly decisions like this are worth.

    #8 2 years ago
  9. Hirmetrium

    @7: Oh come on. Within reason.

    You all seem to think that stores are going to take some strict morale high ground and not sell to adults just because they have a child there.

    If the adult is buying, it is out of the stores hands. And, as I said, it is not their job to teach these people to parent their kids. It is their job to state “this game may be unsuitable”, then ring up the till. Buying for minors is different to parents to kids.

    @5: you seem to think I’m inferring something else. read my post again. I might of skipped the part where they have to say “this may not be appropriate” but they WILL sell the game.

    This is about making the public aware of the new system and that it strictly governs the content of a game. What it represents. Unfortunately, the government can’t sort out shitty parents, no matter how much you want that to happen. But by god, they need to do more.

    Also Grim, I dunno about you, but 18 movies were considered a very big deal when I was growing up (I’m 24 now, go figure). Lots of gore, violence, etc. 15 movies? not so much.

    EDIT: Turns out there is some sort of a campaign push, but I’ll note how little I’ve seen of it.

    #9 2 years ago
  10. GrimRita

    @9 Why are you blaming the government for not doing enough? The old system was fine – using Cinema age ratings was something EVERYONE understood without the need to add more confusion with pissing PEGI ratings.

    But it is what it is. Do the government need to drive around towns in some sort of ‘Battle Bus’ shouting from the roof tops?

    Retailers and importantly the individual staff members have always had that threat of a fine/prison for under age selling so its nothing new and imo that is incentive enough to ensure games are not sold to under age idiots.

    And of course ‘they will sell the game’. If the parent says ‘I dont give a shit what you just said, my child still wants it’ – they have zero choice. If they refuse, parent kicks off because they are OVER 18(well most of them are)so any arguement is mute.

    Like I said earlier – parents need to man up and grow some.

    #10 2 years ago
  11. _LarZen_

    About time!

    #11 2 years ago
  12. absolutezero

    You can get a £5k spot fine for selling an underage person alcohol. Samething can happen if you sell to an adult that you know is buying it for someone thats underage.

    Make that applicable to video games. Job done.

    #12 2 years ago
  13. Emmzyne

    @absolutezero Same applies to selling games to the under-ages. If someone sells an 18/15 etc rated game to someone under-age without no guardian or parents consent. You are liable for a 5k fine and a prison sentence, same applies to gaming retail as much as laws for food retail.

    #13 2 years ago
  14. absolutezero

    The difference is the giving the consent thing, if you believe that the adult may be buying alcohol for someone underage you can just not sell them.

    Its such a big deal inside food retail that I honestly can’t see it being any different in the greater retail industry.

    #14 2 years ago
  15. siddybollox

    The problem is that “suitable” games most of the time are rubbish. Its not like how it was on the original XBOX where you could buy
    Morrowind and it was a 12+, now games that would have been 12+ years ago are now 16+ and 18+. I have to be honest, when you were 13 or 14 would you rather have played some crappy racing, or hockey game or would you have rather been able to drive around with a gun, or fight monsters with swords in a 3d environment? Its not the kids faults if “suitible games” are shit.

    #15 2 years ago

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