It's official. The United Kingdom has chosen the widely popular PEGI system as the sole means for rating video game content.
Following a protracted battle between the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) and the Pan-European Game Information (PEGI) body, the UK's Department for Culture, Media and Sport has decided to use the PEGI age rating system as the country's only standard for rating video games, making it enforceable under British law for the first time.
Previously, the two ratings organisations operated in parallel; while the majority of games were rated under the voluntary PEGI system, the BBFC had the power to impose legally enforceable age limits on games containing depictions of sex and violence, or to ban games altogether. When the British Government began reviewing recommendations by child psychologist Tanya Byron for the reform of video games classification, both the BBFC and PEGI laid claim to being the best choice for a single UK ratings standard.
With the Government's decision, the PEGI age limits will be given statutory effect by the Video Standards Council. Since much of the Europen game industry already uses PEGI ratings, trade bodies like the Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers Association (ELSPA) have been advocating strongly for its use in the UK. General Director of ELSPA, Mike Rawlinson, has said: "The Government has made absolutely the right decision for child safety. By choosing PEGI as the single classification system in the UK, British children will now get the best possible protection when playing video games either on a console or on the internet. Parents can be assured that they will have access to clear, uniform ratings on games and an accurate understanding of game content."
Nintendo has also responded favorably to the Government's decision. David Yarnton, UK General Manager, said: "The Government has made the right decision. The PEGI age rating system is right for the protection of children as it is designed specifically for games and interactive content.
"As a global company we welcome the decision as mature and intelligent as it works across some 30 international territories."