What is PEGI and why was it built?
The PEGI systems provides parents and caregivers with detailed recommendations regarding the age suitability of game content in the form of age labels and content descriptors on game packages. PEGI (Pan-European Game Information) has been designed to replace existing national age rating systems with a single system that is identical throughout most of Europe.
How are the games rated?
PEGI uses a combination of content declaration and game review to determine the appropriate PEGI rating for each game. Initially, the publisher of a game will complete an online declaration form that is sent to the administrator of the system. The completed form is then reviewed and used as a basis for checking the content of the game. The content declaration aspect of PEGI is a significant strength as only the developer/publisher of a game has a complete overview of the content in the game. The overview allows the administrator to focus on sections or aspects of the game that will most likely to affect the rating. This is more efficient and reliable than the administrators attempting a full play through (assuming it was possible) as the only basis for the rating.
On which criteria are the ratings based?
The PEGI system was developed and based on existing rating systems in Europe and is supported by the majority of relevant Member State Government Agencies. A wide range of academics, consumers and other stakeholder groups have been involved in the drafting of the assessment form and the shaping of the organisation in order to meet varying cultural standards and attitudes across the member states.
Is the level of difficulty or quality rated as well?
No, the rating does not take into account the difficulty level or skills required to play a game. PEGI only provides information about the suitability of a game in terms of minor protection. A game rated 3+ can be too difficult for a child to play. We therefore always recommend reading the details of the game content on the packaging to ascertain the level of difficulty.
Where do I find information on the content of a game?
Descriptions of the content of a game can be found on the packaging. There are also specialized game magazines and websites that provide previews, reviews, rankings and news on the latest games. www.gamespot.com is just one of many examples.
Who checks the ratings?
The Netherlands Institute for the Classification of Audio-visual Media (NICAM) and the Video Standards Council (VSC) are the administrators of the PEGI system. As long established and highly regarded institute, NICAM has many years of experience in rating audio visual material and has provided advice during the development of the PEGI scheme.
NICAM reviews 3 and 7 games whilst the VSC reviews 12, 16 and 18 rated games. Consumers who disagree with a rating can contact the administrator and file a complaint.
Do all games have a PEGI rating?
Although PEGI is a self-regulatory system, every game for the Microsoft, Nintendo and Sony games consoles are PEGI rated as well as every PC game from the main European and American publishers. Game retailers usually require the products they sell to be labelled by PEGI and, consequently, it is very unusual to find a game for sale not rated by PEGI.
Do retailers need to take the ratings into account?
The PEGI rating system is a voluntary system. It is only backed by legislation in a few countries. In others, however, PEGI is usually treated as being virtually mandatory by nearly all of the game retailers in their company policy. We encourage the public to always notify store managers where the age ratings are clearly being ignored by their staff.
What can I do when I don t agree with a rating?
As PEGI has been designed to constantly evolve, we very much value your comments or complaints on the system, or the ratings that it delivers.
Complaints about ratings made by publishers or members of the public that cannot be resolved by the Administrator will be heard by an independent Complaints Board. This board includes experts in child protection and psychology, and, more generally, representatives of a wide cross-section of society. The decision of the Complaints Board on an age rating is final and the independent composition of the Board ensures a fair and consistent ruling. Complaints about rating issues can be made through this website.
Do games have an influence on children?
The research on the impact of videogames has been focused primarily on violence. Numerous studies have been published, but until today there is no evidence that playing violent video games causes any long-term or lasting increase in aggressiveness or violence among players.
– Jonathan L. Freedman. Evaluating the Research on Violent Video Games
– Guy Cumberbatch, Video Violence Villain or victim?
– Raymond Boyle and Matthew Hibberd, Review of Research on the Impact of Violent Computer Games on Young People.
How long may a child play games?
As every child is different there is no fixed rule. Gaming as such does not entail specific health risks. It is a leisure activity, just like reading books or watching television. As it involves the use of your eyesight we generally advise these guidelines:
– Always play in a well lit room
– Take regular breaks
– Don t play a game for hours on end, no matter how compelling it may be.
– Keep a minimum distance from the screen.
What is PEGI Online?
PEGI Online is an addition to the PEGI system. Upon joining PEGI Online companies must sign up to a code of conduct, thus indicating that they manage the online gaming features of their products in a responsible manner. In return they receive a license to use a registered PEGI Online label as a seal of quality
What is the difference between the PEGI rating system and PEGI Online?
The PEGI age rating system issues licenses to use a specific age class label and descriptor for a specific product on a specific platform. The PEGI Online label, however, underlines the dedication to the protection of minors in a company s policy regarding online gaming. It indicates membership of a network of companies that comply with the requirements of the PEGI Online Safety Code.
Why is the PEGI Online label also displayed on the packages of games?
The use of the PEGI Online label as an additional descriptor on the back of the package is compulsory when details of online gameplay feature in the PEGI rating questionnaire. Parents and other consumers can fund further information on online gaming, along with related risks, at www.pegionline.eu.
PEGI RATINGS EXPAND TO MOBILE VIA NEW GLOBAL RATING SYSTEM
The IARC process, created by a global coalition of game classification authorities is now
adopted by Google Play and Firefox Marketplace, bringing PEGI ratings to a large body
of apps and games in Europe. For more information: www.globalratings.com more.
PEGI Annual Report 2013
PEGI has published the 2013 annual report. more.