New Age Rating Standards Encourage Wider Adoption Of PEGI Age Ratings

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New research from the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) andVideo Standards Council Rating Board (VSC) shows that 94% of parents find that consistent age ratings are an important factor in making an informed choice. This and other findings have led to the BBFC and VSC publishing a set of standards to encourage good practice.

The PEGI app is a great way for parents to find out more about these ratings, and get further information about specific games from the examiner’s reports. It’s also an excellent way to find age-appropriate games for specific platforms and genres.

The Best Practice Guidelines will help online platforms work towards greater and more consistent use of trusted age ratings online. The move is supported by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport as part of the Government’s strategy to make the UK the safest place to be online. Of specific interest to parents is that it includes recommending the use of consistent and more comprehensive use of PEGI symbols across online games services.

The Video Recordings Act requires that the majority of video works and video games released on physical media must be classified by the BBFC or the VSC prior to release. While there is no equivalent legal requirement that online releases must be classified, the BBFC has been working with VOD services since 2008, and the VSC has been working with online games platforms since 2003. The Best Practice Guidelines aim to build on the good work that is already happening, and both authorities are now calling for the online industry to work with them in 2019 and beyond to better protect children.

Most game platforms, like Xbox, Nintendo, PlayStation and Google already apply PEGI ratings to both physical and online sales. These companies are ahead of the curve with Netflix today announcing that it will similarly apply the BBFC ratings to online video.

Ian Rice, Director General of the VSC, said: “We have always believed that consumers wanted a clear, consistent and readily recognisable rating system for online video games and this research has certainly confirmed that view. While the vast majority of online game providers are compliant and apply PEGI ratings to their product, it is clear that more can be done to help consumers make an informed purchasing decision. To this end, the best practice recommendations will certainly make a valuable contribution in achieving this aim.”

Digital Minister Margot James said: “Our ambition is for the UK to be the safest place to be online, which means having age ratings parents know and trust applied to all online films and video games. I welcome the innovative collaboration announced today by Netflix and the BBFC, but more needs to be done.

“It is important that more of the industry takes this opportunity for voluntary action, and I encourage all video on demand and games platforms to adopt the new best practice standards set out by the BBFC and Video Standards Council.”

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