Pan European Game Information
Pan European Game Information
Abbreviation PEGI Formation April 2003 Purpose/focus Video game classification Parent organization Interactive Software Federation of Europe Website http://www.pegi.info
Pan European Game Information (PEGI) is a European video game content rating system established to help European parents make informed decisions on buying computer games with logos on games boxes. It was developed by the Interactive Software Federation of Europe (ISFE) and came into use in April 2003; it replaced many national age rating systems with a single European system. The PEGI system is now used in more than thirty countries and is based on a code of conduct, a set of rules to which every publisher using the PEGI system is contractually committed. PEGI self-regulation is composed by five age categories and eight content descriptors that advise the suitability and content of a game for a certain age range based on the games content. The age rating does not indicate the difficulty of the game or the skill required to play it.
As of August 2010, PEGI has rated more than 15,000 games. 50% of the games were rated 3, 10% were rated 7, 24% were rated 12, 12% were rated 16 and only 4% were 18. On 16 June 2009, it was announced by the UK's Department of Culture, Media and Sport that PEGI would become the sole classification system for videogames and software in the United Kingdom (currently, a portion of the games that would get a PEGI 16 or 18 rating is rated by the BBFC). PEGI ratings are also found on some French language-video games outside Europe, specifically Canada.
PEGI has five age categories.
- 3: Suitable for all ages. May contain mild violence in an appropriate context for younger children, but no bad language is allowed. Games With This Rating Would Recieve EC Or Low E By The ESRB.
- 7: Suitable for ages 7 and older. May contain mild, cartoon-style violence and elements that can be frightening to younger children. Games With This Rating Would Be Rated High E Or E10 By The ESRB.
- 12: Suitable for ages 12 and older. May contain violence in a fantasy setting, bad language, sexual innuendo or gambling (Games That Enable Gambling For Actual Money Will Be Banned). Games With This Rating Would Be Rated T By The ESRB.
- 16: Suitable for ages 16 and older. May contain explicit violence, strong sex references, bad language, gambling or drug use (encouragement). Games With This Rating Would Pick Up An ESRB M Rating.
- 18: Suitable for ages 18 and older. May contain graphic violence, strong sexual content, bad language, gambling, drug use (glamorisation) or discrimation. Games With This Rating Would Be Rated High M Or AO.
The current design was introduced at the end of 2009. Black and white icons were used until June 2009, when the colour-coded PEGI icons were announced, with green for 3 and 7, yellow for 12 and 16 and red for 18. Plus signs were removed from the icons, and the background text changed from 'ISFE' from the old, black-and-white icons to 'PEGI' from the new, colour-coded PEGI icons.
Legend 3+ 7+ 12+ 16+ 18+ Before 2009 After 2009
In Portugal, two of the PEGI categories were aligned with the age ratings of the film classification system to avoid confusion; 3 was changed to 4 and 7 was changed to 6. Finland also used to use a modified scale, where 12 became 11 and 16 became 15. Finland fully adopted PEGI on 1 January 2007, and the standard ratings were adopted as well.
Legend 3+ 7+ Normal Portugal
The eight content descriptors are:
Icon Content descriptor Explanation Examples Corresponding age ratings Violence May contain scenes of people getting injured or dying, often by use of weapons. Also may contain gore and blood-letting and blood particles. Street Fighter series, Half-Life series, Grand Theft Auto series, Hitman series, Fallout 2, Doom, Resistance: Fall of Man, Super Smash Bros., The Legend of Spyro, Max Payne 2, Mortal Kombat, God of War, The Simpsons Game, Call of Duty, Tekken series, Dead or Alive series, Final Fantasy X, LittleBigPlanet 2, Wii Sports Resort, The Legend of Zelda series, Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing, Lego Universe, Crash Tag Team Racing, Crash of the Titans, Crash: Mind over Mutant Bad Language May contain profanity, sexual innuendo, threats, and all manner of slurs and epithets. Grand Theft Auto series, Fallout 3, Mafia: The City of Lost Heaven, Kingpin: Life of Crime, Midnight Club: Los Angeles, Driver series, Shadow the Hedgehog, Scarface, The Simpsons Game, Call of Duty: Black Ops, The House of the Dead: Overkill (Wii version), God Hand, Tomb Raider: Legend Fear May contain scenes that are considered too disturbing or frightening to younger or more emotionally vulnerable players. Coraline (Nintendo DS version), Bionicle Heroes, NiGHTS: Journey of Dreams, Silent Debuggers, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Rayman Raving Rabbids, LittleBigPlanet 2, Kingdom Hearts, Lego Universe, Sega Superstars Tennis, Ratchet & Clank: All 4 One, Lego Harry Potter: Years 1-4 Sex May contain references to sexual attraction or sexual intercourse. Also may contain nudity and characters dressed in suggestive clothing. Singles: Flirt Up Your Life, Leisure Suit Larry, Fallout 2, Playboy: The Mansion, BMX XXX, God of War, The Sopranos: Road to Respect, The Sims series, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, Agarest: Generations of War, The Simpsons Game, We Dare Drugs May contain references to illegal drugs or a fictional substance that has parallels to real-life illegal drugs (in use, possession, or sale). Driver series, Grand Theft Auto series, Fallout 2, Deus Ex: Invisible War, The Warriors, NARC, Scarface Gambling May contain games of chance (but never for real money). 42 All-Time Classics, Fallout 2, Driver: Vegas, God Hand, Street Hoops, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, Juiced 2: Hot Import Nights, BioShock, Scarface, Poker Night at the Inventory, Fallout: New Vegas Discrimination May contain cruelty or harassment based on race, ethnicity, gender, or sexual preferences. Original War, Postal 2: Apocalypse Weekend, Postal 2: Share the Pain, SWAT: Target Liberty Online Contains an online game mode. Eve Online, Metal Gear Online, Knight Online, Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning, Left 4 Dead, FIFA series, Mario Kart Wii, Mario Kart DS, Mortal Kombat, Call of Duty series, The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass, Super Smash Bros. Brawl, 42 All-Time Classics, Angry Birds, Lego Universe
The 'Gambling' content descriptor was first used on 29 September 2006 with the title 42 All-Time Classics. The 'Online' descriptor was introduced in September 2009.
PEGI and the European Union
The study "Video gamers in Europe – 2008" made by Nielsen Games, demonstrates that PEGI age ratings labels are recognized by 93%. 62% are aware of a European game rating system, 50% recognize the content descriptors and 49% of parents find the age rating label system useful when buying a videogame.
PEGI is an example of a European harmonization. The European Commission supports the PEGI self-regulation: "PEGI appears to have achieved good results and PEGI On-line is also a promising initiative, making of PEGI a good example of self regulation in line with the better regulation agenda." Moreover, the European Parliament in its last report on protection of consumers "takes the view that the PEGI system for rating games is an important tool which has improved transparency for consumers, especially parents, when buying games by enabling them to make a considered choice as to whether a game is suitable for children."
Rating Process and Boards
To obtain the ratings for any piece of software, the applicant submits the game with other supporting materials and completes a content declaration, all of which is evaluated by an independent administrator called the Netherlands Institute for the Classification of Audiovisual Media (NICAM). It is based on the Dutch Kijkwijzer system as well. Following the evaluation the applicant will receive a license to use the rating logos. If the applicant disagrees with the rating, they can ask for an explanation or make a complaint to the complaints board. Consumers may also make complaints to this board.
Although PEGI was established by an industry body (ISFE) the ratings are given by a body independent of the industry and the whole system is overseen by a number of different Boards and Committees. There is the PEGI Council, composed mainly by national representatives for PEGI, that recommends adjustments to the code in light of social, legal and technological developments. Members of the PEGI Council are recruited for their skill and experience from among parent/consumer body representatives, child psychologists, media specialists, civil servants, academics and legal advisers versed in the protection of minors in Europe.
There is also a Complaints Board with experts from various European countries. They deal with complaints related to breaches of requirements of the code of conduct or to age rating recommendations. Should a complaint be received from a consumer or publisher regarding a rating given to a game and no satisfactory settlement can be reached by the PEGI administrator through discussion, explanation or negotiation the complainant may formally request the Complaints Board to mediate. Three board members will then convene, hear the complaint and decide on a ruling. Publishers using the PEGI system are bound by the decision of the Complaints Board. Consequently, they are obliged to carry out any corrective actions required and, in cases of non-compliance, are subject to sanctions as laid out by the code.
There are three committees; a criteria committee, a legal committee and an enforcement committee.
- Criteria Committee: The Criteria Committee is made up of representatives from ISFE, NICAM, VSC and the industry. It works on adapting and modifying the PEGI questionnaire and the underlying criteria to take account of technological and content developments and recommendations made by the Advisory Board or circumstances brought to light by the complaints procedure.
- Legal Committee: Since PEGI is a voluntary system it runs in conjunction with, and is subordinate to, existing national laws, whether they prohibit certain content or establish mandatory rating systems. The Legal Committee’s role is to advise ISFE of any changes to national legislation within participating countries that could have an impact on the voluntary age rating system.
- Enforcement Committee: The Enforcement Committee is charged with implementing the recommendations of the Advisory Board and, more generally, of ensuring the enforcement of the provisions of the PEGI Code of Conduct, including conclusion of the Complaints Board. The Enforcement Committee is made up of ten members, five of which are publishers, and five of which are chosen from the PEGI Council.
This division of PEGI was formed in 2007. It’s an addition to the PEGI system for online games and aims to give young people in Europe improved protection against unsuitable online gaming content and to educate parents on how to ensure safe online play. This project is supported directly by the European Commission. "PEGI On-line, which was launched in June 2007 and co-funded by the Safer Internet Programme, is the logical development of the PEGI system, designed to better protect young people against unsuitable gaming content and to help parents to understand the risks and potential for harm within this environment"
PEGI Online is based on four principles:
- the PEGI Online Safety Code and Framework Contract which is signed by all participants
- the PEGI Online Logo which will be displayed by holders of a licence
- the website for applicants and for the general public
- an independent administration, advice and dispute settlement process.
The licence to display the PEGI Online Logo is granted by the PEGI Online Administrator to any online gameplay service provider that meets the requirements set out in the PEGI Online Safety Code (POSC).
Where PEGI is used
PEGI is used in 31 European countries, Canada and Israel. The ratings system is partially recognised in other countries such as the United Arab Emirates, South Africa and South Asia since they are considered official PAL regions, although they may import games from regions outside of PEGI's jurisdictions. PAL games officially released in Australia are usually rated by the ACB. Legally enforceable means the ratings are not simply "voluntary" or "advisory" but are enforced by some kind of local regulation or law. ESRB is the primary rating system in Canada, while some French-language products, mainly in Quebec, carry a PEGI label.
Country Legally enforced? Notes Additional rating
Austria Yes PEGI is legally adopted and enforceable in the Vienna region, but until 2013 there is a transitional arrangement which allows USK as well. Belgium No Officially supports PEGI, but there is no specific legislative basis. Bulgaria No Canada No Rates some (but not all) French-language games in the province of Québec, primarily those that are imported from France. ESRB Cyprus No Officially supports PEGI and is represented in the PEGI Council, but there is no specific legislative basis. Czech Republic No Colombia No Denmark No Officially supports PEGI and is represented in the PEGI Council, but there is no specific legislative basis. Estonia No Officially supports PEGI and is represented in the PEGI Council, but there is no specific legislative basis. Finland No Finland adopts PEGI which is exempt from mandatory classification with national age symbols. Both classifications are enforced by the penal code. VET/SFB France Yes France has adapted legislation to make classification of video games with age labels mandatory. Greece No Germany No USK system is adopted and enforced. PEGI is not formally recognised, although PEGI labelling can be found on games along with the USK rating. USK Hungary No Iceland Yes PEGI is officially supported and age classifications are mandatory for video games by law. Ireland No PEGI ratings are excluded from mandatory classification by IFCO, which adopts PEGI but is still legally empowered to ban certain video game content from the market. Israel Yes PEGI has been adopted by law as the mandatory classification system for video games in Israel. Italy No Latvia No Lithuania Yes Lithuanian legislation adopts PEGI which is exempt from mandatory classification with national age symbols. Both classifications are enforced by the penal code as of Nov 2010. Luxembourg No Malta No Netherlands Yes PEGI is officially adopted and legislation is in place to enforce the age classification in shops where video games are sold. Norway No Poland No PEGI ratings are not yet enforced in Poland but has intentions to support PEGI as a self regulatory system. Portugal No PEGI has officially been adopted by the Portuguese Classification Board IGAC. IGAC Romania No Russia No PEGI just as recommendation (No strict laws about game labelling). Slovakia No Slovak media law obliges distributors to mark games with national age labels. Slovenia Yes Officially supported. No further need for additional restrictions due to extremely low game-related incident history. Spain No Sweden No Switzerland No United Kingdom No Currently both PEGI and BBFC are used with the latter being legally enforceable. There has been plans to make all responsibility go to PEGI with all ratings 12+ and above becoming legally enforceable, but there's been no confirmation when it will take place. BBFC
- ACB, the Australian media rating system
- CERO, the Japanese computer and video game rating system
- DJCTQ, the Brazillian media rating system
- ESRB, the North American computer and video game rating system
- ELSPA, the former British computer and video game rating system, replaced by the PEGI ratings
- OFLC (New Zealand), the New Zealand media rating system
- USK, the German computer and video game rating system
- ^ "PEGI Website". Pegi.info. http://www.pegi.info/en/. Retrieved 2011-06-29.
- ^ "PEGI Pan European Game Information - What do the labels mean?". Pegi.info. http://www.pegi.info/en/index/id/33. Retrieved 2011-06-29.
- ^ NICAM activity report August 2010
- ^ "PEGI Website". Pegi.info. http://www.pegi.info/en/index/id/37/. Retrieved 2011-06-29.
- ^ "Kotaku: PEGI triumphs over the BBFC". http://kotaku.com/5292677/pegi-triumphs-over-the-bbfc.
- ^ Tom Ivan. "PEGI Unveils New Ratings Symbols". http://www.next-gen.biz/news/pegi-unveils-new-ratings-symbols.
- ^ "PEGI database - Coraline game entries". Pegi.info. http://www.pegi.info/en/index/global_id/505/?searchString=Coraline&agecategories=&genre=&organisations=&platforms=&countries=&submit=Start+zoekopdracht. Retrieved 2011-06-29.
- ^ http://www.pegi.info/en/index/id/37/ ; http://www.isfe-eu.org/index.php?PHPSESSID=chr154nv5gn99ans2v8i72o9k7&oidit=T001:662b16536388a7260921599321365911
- ^ Communication from the commission of the European parliament, the council, the European economic and social committee and the committee of the regions, on the protection of consumers, in particular minors, in respect of the use of video games, Brussels, 2008,p.9
- ^ Toine Manders, Report of the European Parliament on the protection of the consumers, in particular minors, in respect of the use of video games, 2009, p.6. article 24
- ^ "PEGI Assessment Form". Pegi.info. http://www.pegi.info/en/index/id/1184/media/pdf/235.pdf. Retrieved 2011-11-06.
- ^ NICAM website[dead link]
- ^ a b "Website PEGI". Pegi.info. http://www.pegi.info/en/index/id/41/. Retrieved 2011-06-29.
- ^ "PEGI Online Website". Pegionline.eu. http://www.pegionline.eu. Retrieved 2011-06-29.
- ^ Communication from the commission o the European parliament, the council, the European economic and social committee and the committee of the regions, on the protection of consumers, in particular minors, in respect of the use of video games, Brussels, 2008, p.3.
- ^ "PEGI Online Website". Pegionline.eu. http://www.pegionline.eu/en/index/id/232. Retrieved 2011-06-29.
- ^ "UAE's Xbox page explaining PEGI ratings". http://www.xbox.com/en-AE/Marketplace/gameratings.
- ^ "Austrian government page explaining PEGI and its status". http://bupp.at/chancen-amp-risiken/jugendschutz/pegi/.
- ^ "Halo 2: Best of Classics". EB Games.de. 2006. Archived from the original on 2007-09-27. http://web.archive.org/web/20070927213836/http://www.ebgames.de/product_info.php?products_id=5301. Retrieved 2006-09-25.
- ^ "VSC Video Games Update". http://www.videostandards.org.uk.
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