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Pegi games ratings enforceable by law

Pegi video game rating system made enforceable through law and BBFC withdraw its classification to reduce confusion.

Video games ratings using the Pegi (Pan-European Game Information) system can now be enforceable through law in the UK.

This means that any retailers who sell titles with 12, 16 or 18 age restrictions to individuals below the appropriate age can be prosecuted.

In order to accommodate the move and avoid confusion, the government has dropped the other rating system run by the BBFC (British Board of Film Classification).

To help families make decisions on which titles are appropriate for their children, small diagrams are also to be included on video game packaging to indicate what kind of adult content it includes. These include sex, drugs, gambling, swearing, violence and online gaming with others, which can lead to gamers being exposed to explicit language not specifically included in the title.

The move was recommended by The Byron Review, which was carried out by Tanya Byron. It concluded that "having a dual classification system and two sets of symbols often made things confusing for the consumer".

Adding that the single system was vital to ensuring the safety of children and the Pegi standards were typically stricter than those by the BBFC.

The Games Ratings Authority (GRA) will be responsible for rating games through Pegi and also have the power to ban titles if it deems it necessary, but this will occur "very rarely".

Two games have been banned in the past (Manhunt 2 and Carmageddon) but both were later overturned.

Upcoming games such as Splinter Cell: Blacklist, Far Cry 3 and The Last of Us have all raised concerns when their trailers depicted "shocking" levels of violence. In particular, The Last of Us showed the main character shooting an individual in the face at point-blank range with a shotgun.

As graphics become even more detailed and realistic with the forthcoming release of next-generation versions of consoles, the need to rate games based on their violent content will no doubt become even more important.ADNFCR-1220-ID-801418177-ADNFCR