Single PEGI age rating system starts today

1-in-3 parents has bought a kid an unsuitable game, says poll.

Today, PEGI officially takes over from Grant Mitch-I mean the BBFC, as the lawfully enforced age ratings body for video games in the UK.

Nothing really changes, except from the mid-tier age bracket of 15 under BBFC changes to 16 under PEGI. And you'll see the nice PEGI stickers warning of different types of content on the boxes of games.

The age brackets now are 12, 16 and 18. Sell to someone under-age for a maximum punishment of up to six months behind bars and a £5000 fine.

Will that hamper sales of Grand Theft Auto 5? Probably not - the BBFC was backed by law for years, and 18-rated games found their way into pre-pubescent hands easily enough.

That may have been because as many as one-in-three parents have bought a game unsuitable for their child, according to an adjoining poll of 1000 parents.

But fear not, for as many parents again believe the more communicative and accessible PEGI system will help them make the right buying decisions.

That's the real goal of the PEGI takeover (announced back in 2009) - to get video game-illiterate parents clued up about what they're buying.

There's a big push to make that a reality as part of the Control.Collaborate.Create campaign. A new AskAboutGames website tackles the most prominent problems, Radio 1 host Jo Wiley's done a video and the big shop chains like GAME are all vocally behind the PEGI takeover.

Will it make a difference? If it doesn't, we can't think what will.

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Robert Purchese

Robert Purchese

Senior Staff Writer

Bertie is senior staff writer and Eurogamer's Poland-and-dragons correspondent. He's part of the furniture here, a friendly chair, and reports on all kinds of things, the stranger the better.


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