Age Ratings

Age ratings ensure that entertainment content, such as films, videos, DVDs, and computer and video games, is clearly labelled for the minimum age group for which it is suitable. Age ratings provide guidance to consumers to help them decide whether or not to buy a particular product.

Previously, in the UK, age ratings for computer and video games sold in shops or online retailers for consoles and PCs came under two complementary systems: the voluntary European PEGI system, which stands for Pan-European Games Information, and the mandatory BBFC system, which stands for British Board of Film Classification.

Now, PEGI is the sole system used for new console and PC games. PEGI is used and recognised throughout Europe and is supported by the European Commission. Many thousands of games have been PEGI-rated since the scheme was devised and introduced in early 2003. It is important to note that in the UK, PEGI 12, 16 and 18 ratings are legally enforceable meaning that they cannot be supplied to persons below those respective age bars.  The body responsible for applying UK PEGI ratings is the Games Rating Authority (GRA).

Essentially, the PEGI rating on a game confirms that it contains content suitable for a certain age group and above.  So, a 7 game is suitable for everyone who is seven or older while an 18-rated game is deemed suitable only for adults. It is not, however, a measure of who will enjoy the game or how difficult that game is.

There are also age ratings systems operating for games played on phones and tablets or played directly over the internet via a PC. These systems broadly operate in similar ways to PEGI but have slightly different age levels and/or content descriptors.

When buying a game for anyone under the age of 18, always look at the age rating to check it is suitable for the intended end-user.

More information:

Smartphones and Tablets

With tablets and smart phones becoming ever more powerful it is no surprise that video games are as at home on these multifaceted gadgets as they are on dedicated handheld consoles. Because of this it is important to understand Age Rating systems for iOS, Windows Phone, Android and Blackberry phones as well as the broader PEGI ratings applied to console and handheld games. In addition to our links for Parental Controls on these devices, here is more information about how the different systems work:

Age Rating

The PEGI system is based on five age categories and eight content descriptors. The age categories indicate whether an interactive software product is appropriate for children from a certain age. The age categories are: 3, 7, 12, 16, 18.

pegi-3

Age Rating 3

Appropriate for children from
three years of age

pegi-7

Age Rating 7

Appropriate for children from
seven years of age

pegi-12

Age Rating 12

Appropriate for children from
twelve years of age

pegi-16

Age Rating 16

Appropriate for people from
sixteen years of age

pegi-18

Age Rating 18

Appropriate for people from
eighteen years of age

Descriptor

The Pegi Content Descriptors indicate the reason(s) for which an interactive software product was awarded a particular age rating. PEGI differentiates between the following types: Violence, Bad Language, Fear, Sexual content/Nudity, Drugs, Discrimination, Gambling, Online.

pegi-violence

Violence

Contains depictions of violence

pegi-bad-language

Bad Language

Contains bad and / or
offensive language

pegi-fear

Fear

May be frightening to
younger children

pegi-sexual-content

Sexual Content

Contains depictions of nudity and / or references to sexual behaviour

pegi-drugs

Drugs

Contains the use or glamorisation of alcohol and / or drugs

pegi-discrimination

Discrimination

Can only appear on games rated 18 containing depictions of ethnic, religious, nationalistic or other stereotypes that could encourage hatred

pegi-gambling

Gambling

May encourage or teach gambling

pegi-online

Online

Can be played online

Legal

pegi-12

Age Rating 12

Appropriate for children from
twelve years of age

pegi-16

Age Rating 16

Appropriate for people from
sixteen years of age

pegi-18

Age Rating 18

Appropriate for people from
eighteen years of age

Advisory

The 3 and 7 PEGI age ratings are advisory. They provide families with a guide about the content in a videogame, but are not legally binding for retailers.

pegi-3

Age Rating 3

Appropriate for children from
three years of age

pegi-7

Age Rating 7

Appropriate for children from
seven years of age