Survey Says: Brits Favor PEGI Ratings

A survey conducted on behalf of the UK video game industry holds that two-thirds of British adults favor a single European game rating system.

MCV UK reports that ELSPA, which has been lobbying for the PEGI rating system over the BBFC, certainly found the results to its liking. The BBFC, of course, is best known to gamers for its 2007 banning of Manhunt 2, which was was later overturned by a British High Court.

Of the survey results, ELSPA Director General Paul Jackson (left) commented:

The Byron Review conclusions put much emphasis on the need for a clear age ratings system in the UK. This YouGov research shows us that, like all of ELSPA’s members, the majority of British adults and parents wish to see as the system that is standardised across Europe. We believe this demonstrates that in order to protect children it is essential that whichever classification body is chosen following the Government’s promised public consultation of the Byron Review, the decision is based on its ability as a games classifier both on and off line. It is also important that it is recognised across Europe.

Michael Cashman, a senior member of the European Parliament’s Justice, Home Affairs and Civil Liberties Committee, weighed in as well:

I am not surprised that most Brits believe it is vital that we are signed-up to a pan-European rating system. Many buy their games when they are away, and others download content from European games companies. These are trends which will inevitably continue. PEGI and PEGI Online offer security when UK residents buy games from the continent– and when visiting Europeans buy games from us during their visits. PEGI rates the suitability of games for all ages, which is very important. The PEGI system was even partly devised by representatives of the British video games industry, and today it offers comprehensive protection for children both at home and overseas. I welcome the latest YouGov findings.


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  1. Anonymous says:

    Slight flaw in your argument there, Zippy – there’s yet to be a single game ever banned in the UK. Both times a game was brought into question, it was subsequently made available at retail.

    But heaven forbid something as small and troubling as the facts upset your black & white conspiracist world view.

  2. Anonymous says:

    …and you’re saying the BBFC does? I;m afraid that’s a gross misrepresentation of the BBFC. In fact, they’re usually more lenient in their rating sthan either PEGI or the ESRB.

  3. ZippyDSM says:

    the survey is a lie so what, it speaks conversation thats all thats needed. 😛


    The BBFC dose an ok job at sloting media until it hits something it dose not "like" and this is the main problem its like letting the executioner decide who lives and who dies "oh you been wrongly convinced and have a new child mm no *whack*, your a convicted pot head oooo I love the smell of druggies in the morning *whack*, your a multi raspiest who stalks teens and is a raging alcoholic you are a guy after me own heart I’m letting this one off."

    It dose not compute a mature video is not not get any less mature and the law is vuage enough to let this slip past the cracks so by labeling it mature you can at least ensure to a higher degree it stays out of the hands of minors since the the age ranges are enforced by law.

    The UK has the prefect system in place to rate media to tis designated slots enforced by law but what do they go and do they go and cock it up by trying to ban it…HOLY FUCK I new the amercains were anal but this subtle sht is mind fuckary!

    Now I can;t wait til the Germans go and fuck up their system letting adults buy unrated unlocalized games behind the counter is a great way to keep sht out of the hands of the evil minors, they too have ratings by law but if they go on the ban wagon they are undermining their own god damn system..of course since behind the counter sales are up to the store the practice will probably contenuie, making you wonder…who they are writing the laws for…….. oh politics you turn reason into mindless drool (like my writing :P).

    PEGI would be a better choice for Europe since most countries recognize it, I would not be agisnt the game part of the BBFC joining with PEGI under the PEGI name to standardize European game media ratings, playing the game all the way through or separation from the industry dose not mater bad press and their own charter and business needs will keep them mostly out of trouble and if they do get into trouble it will only be as much as the BBFC gets into and it willstill be better than the ESRB who can’t figure out 13 and 15 are different age ranges :P.

    I is fuzzy brained mew

    (in need of a bad overhaul)

  4. squigs says:

    It always depends on the question being asked.

    “Do you think it’s better to have a consistent system of game ratings across Europe?”


    “Would you prefer a government regulation scheme based on the well understood movie ratings, or an industry self regulation scheme?”

    They’re both ultimately asking same question, but designed to get different answers. The choice between BBFC in its current form or PEGI is a false dichotomy. Europe could easily adopt the BBFC as a basis for a standardised European rating scheme, or for some collaboration between other classification organisations.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Everyone in the UK likes the BBFC, whereas nobody has heard of PEGI. This survey is titally bogus and only serves the big publishers’ agenda.

  6. Canary Wundaboy says:

    I think this survey is bollocks tbh.

    I LIKE the BBFC system. I know someone’s played the game, and the certificate is clear and unquestionable, not like the PEGI system which has logos coming out of its ass.

    That said, Im 20 on Sunday, it doesnt affect me anymore anyhow.

  7. Anonymous says:

    The very first line…

    "YouGov survey reveals strong UK support for pan-European games rating system, PEGI."

    I know what you mean, though. The report that GP links to says it, but the survey itself doesn’t seem to. However, it’s MCV’s BS, not GP’s.

  8. Colonel Finn says:

    Actually no-one is choosing anything, the fact is, it doesn’t matter which people favour.

    Also the survey only says that 67% of brits favour a pan-european system, not that they prefer PEGI over the BBFC.  Being the UK what they probably think that means, having not had further details of the survey’s partiulars, is that the ratings they recognise (i.e. the BBFC) will be the same across europe.

    Britain isn’t giving up the BBFC, it just isn’t going to happen.  In addition, people seem to be forgetting that ratings in the UK are legally enforced.  Rather than advisory as in some other contries coughUSAcough.  There’s as much chance of the BBFC being chucked in favour of PEGI as there is there is them allowing Swaztica’s in German games.

  9. Adrian Lopez ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    "in order to protect children"

    "it offers comprehensive protection for children"

    Ratings are meant to protect children? Most people seem to think so, but I don’t.

    I’m convinced the true purpose of ratings is to protect parental values against outside influence. It’s just a bunch of memes looking after their own interests.

  10. Chuma ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    "Why would I want to be compelled to use a redundant service?"

    Because unlike PEGI, someone has actually played the game.  It means relying on someone independant to the government and the industry themselves rather than hoping that the person filling in all the tick boxes on the PEGI form is telling the truth or that their judgment isn’t fuelled by a need to have a lower rating.

    Basically it is about transparancy and trust.  The industry has taken quite a hit of late where trust in concerned so until the general public is happy for it to be rating itself again, I say stick with the BBFC.  Plus, they’ve done a damned good job so far.  If it’s not broke, why fix it?

  11. E. Zachary Knight says:

    Personally, trying to be as unbiased as I possibly can in this situation, I would have to say it doesn’t matter. As long as the rating has an age reccomendation and something to describe the type of content in the game, it should be perfect.

    As a businessman, I would probably go with the PEGI system as well. Think of it this way. You have a game that you want to release world wide. How many rating systems do you have to pay and submit your game to? A lot. We have the ESRB, BBFC, PEGI, the Australian one which escapes me, several accross Asia, a couple more in Europe most likely, the middle east, etc. That is a lot of places to submit a game to and pay. So if it were conceivable to shed one or two of those ratings systems, I would be all over it.

    As it stands, both the PEGI and the BBFC ratings are on games in the UK. No other nation uses the BBFC, yet quite a few nations use the PEGI. Why should I have to bother with the BBFC if they still slap a PEGI raing on the same game.

    There is also the problem of not even having the OPTION to use the BBFC. You are compelled to use it if the BBFC says you have to. There is no other way around it. Why would I want to be compelled to use a redundant service? I already have a PEGI rating on the game.

    E. Zachary Knight


    E. Zachary Knight
    Divine Knight Gaming
    Oklahoma Game Development
    Rusty Outlook
    Random Tower
    My Patreon

  12. Terraja ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Interesting. Two thirds of Brits prefer the PEGI system over the BBFC? According to the report, they “believe it is important to have a single age-ratings system which would be consistent across Europe.” This is from the same country that traditionally hates handing decision-making over to Europe and tries very hard to differentiate itself from the continent in general.

    An informal poll conducted by myself a while ago revealed that half of British adults didn’t know what the BBFC was or, once told, that they did games as well as films. 100% of participants identified the BBFC’s 18 certificate and associated it with the sort they had seen on movies.

  13. Anime_Otaku ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    I bet the majority of the people who did know about what they were talking about (ie Gamers) said they prefered PEGI out of resentment of the BBFC’s attempt to ban Manhunt 2 instead of letting the consumers decide. Personally I’d go for PEGI too.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Zippy, of course you can import unrated movies, so you’re free to watch whatever the hell you like in your own home (aside from snuff movies and child porn), the BBFC just regulates items sold at retail.

    As for keeping adult material off the street – have you ever been down Soho or Old Compton Street? I’m sure it’d be an eye-opener. Contrary to what you might think, the UK is not held in the repressive grip of authoritarian censorship.

    But you know what? There’s no point arguing with infantile conspiracy theorists such as yourself. Why don’t you piss of back to the X-Files, you loon.

  15. Gift says:

    "Given the puritan roots of the US I really don’t know where you get the idea that they are anti-regulation from."

    Damn you :P, I’m really tempted to debate that point, but you are right it’s off topic. I will say this though: I think the US‘s war for rights (with a distant and unbending British government) has resulted in a lasting mistrust of government in general.

    "So if I am trying to defend the BBFC here from the nonsensical torrent of abuse it is getting from the other side of the atlantic, then that’s something I’m happy to do."

    Positively backing you up there, as you know I have little love for the BBFC nevertheless I don’t think it deserves quite the battering it gets here. I’m just trying to give people a feel for why the BBFC isn’t seen as particularly controversial over here. I’m not criticising you for coming to its defence.



  16. ZippyDSM says:

    About as transparent and accountable as mud, I talk to A LOT of UK and German gamers I have a pretty clear picture of the situation there, I wonder even if you understand the US have 3 or 5 different ratings systems TV has its own and is censored by the FCC(gov),Radio is censored as well by them, home video is not censored you can by unrated DVDs easily and this is where the UK fails the BBFC can ban directly by law and keep thos unrated items off shore because of this it fails as a competent ratings system.

    But what about the ESRB,well the ESRB has its hands tied by the game publishers that say NO to mature rated games because they don;t want to lose their fake family friendly image, with that said the TV and radio censorship is pathetic the FCC should be dismantled but that dose not excuse the BBFC for being able to block content because they do not "like" it.

    I is fuzzy brained mew

    (in need of a bad overhaul)

  17. ZippyDSM says:

    TV might not be edited but the BBFC keeps content from being imported visa v vague laws that keeps unrated and adult matrieal off the streets, at least the US has the unrated DVD rule which anything but graphic porn can fall into the BBFC has far to much ban and edit power, TV is abit outside the scope of the BBFC  I think.
    under UK law you can not import films the BBFC has turned down it might not be a highly enforced law but there are cases of contraband being confiscated, becuse the BBFC hold such tight reigns on the home market its to authoritarian and too obsolete.

    The US might over censor  what goes on the public airwaves but we have the freedom to watch what we want at home, the UK via the BBFC dose not, also we don;t have music police looking for taxes to collect :P.

    I is fuzzy brained mew

    (in need of a bad overhaul)

  18. Chuma ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Given the puritan roots of the US I really don’t know where you get the idea that they are anti-regulation from.  What is happening is the to-ing and fro-ing of politics.  We’ve had a big shift to the right and now we’re due a correction.  Problem is, giving back freedoms is much less forthcoming as taking them as far as governments are concerned.

    Anyhow that is a another discussion.  As for your comments about the UK, yeah you’re probably right.  There’s very few who will say "They do a good job" rather than those who don’t care until something goes wrong.  However, that’s no excuse for every rational and right minded individual to do the same.  I recognise that 1 game causing a bit of a stir doesn’t undo the previous 20 years of games rating or 100 years of Movie/Video/DVD ratings.  So if I am trying to defend the BBFC here from the nonsensical torrent of abuse it is getting from the other side of the atlantic, then that’s something I’m happy to do.

  19. Gift says:

    Hmm a "Damn fine job"? I confess, I’m no fan of the BBFC but at best I think the UK public simply don’t give the BBFC much thought. It "just is" to most people. I certainly don’t think the BBFC has many cheerleaders. In fact I’d go so far as to say such unqualified support for any institution would be thoughroughly un-British. Complaining is a national pass-time, nothing is that sacred even when we get things right. 😉

    I agree that the BBFC comes in for more critisim than it’s due on GP. However, if national character is in play here then the US is anti-regulation and thus overly critical, while the UK is apathetic rather than pro-regulation. I doubt it’s as simple as pro/anti.


  20. Chuma ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Because with the BBFC you have the VAC as well.  You have to take the system as a whole, not the half.

  21. E. Zachary Knight says:

    Okay, sorry for using quotes around a paraphrased quotation.

    But how exactly is what you quoted nd what I paraphrased different.

    "As I have said previously, we never take rejection decisions lightly, and they always involve a complex balance of considerations. We twice rejected Manhunt 2, and then pursued a judicial review challenge, because we considered, after exceptionally thorough examination, that it posed a real potential harm risk. "

    Translates to: "If we had our way, this game would still be banned."

    "However, the Video Appeals Committee has again exercised its independent scrutiny. It is now clear, in the light of this decision, and our legal advice, that we have no alternative but to issue an ‘18’ certificate to the game"

    Translates to: "Because we can’t have our way, here’s your stinking rating."

    Very little difference there.

    E. Zachary Knight


    E. Zachary Knight
    Divine Knight Gaming
    Oklahoma Game Development
    Rusty Outlook
    Random Tower
    My Patreon

  22. Chuma ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Thats a commercial decision though.  In the same way as this website can censor any one of us it feels like without infringing on 1st amendment rights (something Jack Thompson doesn’t understand).

  23. Chuma ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Don’t use quote marks unless you are quoting something.

    HERE is the exact quote:

    “As I have said previously, we never take rejection decisions lightly, and they always involve a complex balance of considerations. We twice rejected Manhunt 2, and then pursued a judicial review challenge, because we considered, after exceptionally thorough examination, that it posed a real potential harm risk.  However, the Video Appeals Committee has again exercised its independent scrutiny. It is now clear, in the light of this decision, and our legal advice, that we have no alternative but to issue an ‘18’ certificate to the game"

    Reluctant? Maybe, but it is an acceptance of the process of certification.  The fact that there is an appeals process that overlooks the BBFC willing to make judgments against the organisation is a surefire confirmation that the whole system works well.  Finally, if you don’t think the BBFC is willing to change with the times, have a read of the amount of bans and requests to censor that it has made in  the last 100 years it has been going.  You’ll notice it censoring far far less these days and bans are in single figures in the last decade for films/dvds/games.  Infact, this is only the 2nd game it ever tried to ban, both failing.

  24. Chuma ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    In your opinion maybe, but you can’t speculate and then slag someone off based on your assumptions.  Again, it amases me just how vocal some of the US citizens here are against the BBFC when the overwhelming majority of UK posters seem to agree with me that they do a damned fine job.  Maybe you should listen more to those that live with the ratings day to day.

  25. beemoh says:

    >I can’t remember the last time I saw the phrase ‘edited for TV’ anywhere in the film listings.

    That’s because they don’t tell you if the film has been edited. Sky and ITV frequently cut films for content.

  26. Anonymous says:

    Their hand was not "forced" – their decision was challenged through the appropriate legal means and the BBFC had to change their guidelines accordingly. That is about as transparant and accountable as it gets, rather than the frankly quite shadowy relationship between PEGI and the publishers.

    ELSPA can fuck right off – they’re corporate shills with no interest in proecting consumers in the slightest.

  27. Matthew says:

    But you can appeal against the BBFC and win, even if you’re fighting for the "worst" game they’ve ever had to rate. The result is that Manhunt 2 does have a BBFC rating of 18 now. The sort of dictatorships that come up in comparison so often aren’t quite as open to change.

  28. E. Zachary Knight says:

    You seem to be forgetting that the BBFC never once changed their minds about Manhunt 2. The only reason they gave in and assigned it a rating was because they exausted all possible appeals trying to keep it banned. Had they won that last appeal, the game would still be banned.

    Their hand was forced. It was not voluntary.

    E. Zachary Knight


    E. Zachary Knight
    Divine Knight Gaming
    Oklahoma Game Development
    Rusty Outlook
    Random Tower
    My Patreon

  29. Matthew says:

    This. You can take the worst example of British censorship in recent years, the de facto sales ban on Manhunt 2, and apply the slippery slope argument to go from 0-Godwin in 3.5 seconds. Yet there is almost nothing that you can’t get away with in the UK media. I can’t remember the last time I saw the phrase ‘edited for TV’ anywhere in the film listings.

    It’s interesting to note that the censorship stories that keep coming up on GP relate to billboards and adverts because they are on public display, and that the actual content of the games they’re advertising isn’t in question. Nobody cared that Burnout was about wanton vehicular destruction, but they were concerned about promoting (literal) car crash TV on the public transport network.

    Manhunt 2 pushed the limits of taste and was reined in for it. It kept pushing though, and in the end the *limits were changed* to accomodate it. Censor-happy dictatorships aren’t known for their ability to change their minds.

  30. Chuma ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    The ban hammer is weilded far more in the US on mainstream media than the UK.  Censorship is rife on your airwaves compared to us in so many ways, from profanity to sex and violence.

    As for "playing a game all the way through" not being needed, thats frankly just rubbish in both the phrasology and the conclusion.  To get a full understanding of context and of content you need to see the game in as much detail as possible.  It isn’t possible to see a ‘whole’ game these days, so they see as much as is necessery to pass judgment.  There are people specifically employed to do this and probably much better qualified than most with the knowledge of what is involved in allocating each rating set out by law.

    You go on to say that Transparancy and trust can be handled by contracts… by someone else… so what do you think the BBFC are exactly?  You want to replace one body with another just because you got your knickers in a twist over them not liking one game?  The Manhunt 2 fiasco will have effects on the BBFC in them knowing that the line is not crossed as early as they first thought.  If you bring in someone else, they are still going to have to deal with the laws of the UK, the only difference is that with the BBFC there is a shield of "we’ve independantly assessed this game" rather than the PEGI "we got the company to tick a sheet and we are assumign they will tell the whole truth".



    So yeah, had this argument before, know all the points now, discussed them at length, still think you’re wrong, still finding holes in the PEGI theory.  Same time next BBFC/PEGI story?

  31. Anonymous says:

    Oh fuck OFF Zippy! Jesus – Condemned 2 was released just fine – stop looking for establishment figures to knock down just vecuase it appeals to your juvenile sense of rebellion.

  32. ZippyDSM says:

    The BBFC cannot slot mature media to mature audiences without the ban hammer this makes them antiqued, playing a game all the way through is  not needed and wastes time and money.

     Transparency and trust can be handled through contracts no publisher is going to want to be sued into the ground for screwing with the ratings board.


    I is fuzzy brained mew

    (in need of a bad overhaul)

  33. GusTavToo says:


    I agree that Germany will never agree on standards with a whole tranch of EU States, and an EU standard is a non-starter. I think the problem goes deeper than that. Even if a standard could be agreed you’d never get the Member States to give up competence to the EU in this area as it is too cuturally significant. The French has a particular history in relation to cutural protectionism.

    On another note, you’re political analysis of te EU is about 15 years out of date. Take off the tin-foil hat and stop reading the Mail 😉

    The Commission’s power has been steadily diminishing. The current power brokers in the EC are the Council and Parliament; both democratic and locked in a power struggle. The Council still has the upper hand but now needs to curry suppport in Parliament to get things done. The Commission has been increasingly sidelined. In the wider EU the Council still runs the show.

  34. Gift says:

    That’s a fair point, but giving away powers to unelected supra-national organisations (albeit not industry ones) isn’t unknown. After all, despite having a parliament, in practice the EU isn’t very accountable it’s usually the unelected Commission calling the shots.

    With regard to the PEGI being adopted as a state regulator that’s only going to happen if it conforms to a given government’s standards (e.g. I can’t see Germany ok-ing PEGI). Once adopted if PEGI and government ideas about regulation diverged, then support for the system could be withdrawn. As you know that’s how it works for the BBFC here, it polices films/games only as long as the government says it can. Influence is fairly irrelevent if PEGI does what a given parliament is happy with already.

    "The EU has no competence in this area, which is very important as it means it cannot adopt legislation."

    I understand that, but as I said above whether the right is conferred on the EC or not doesn’t seem to matter much. The constitution/treaty is a case in point the bureaucracy seems ever more hungry for powers that rightly belong in the hands of national government. I’ll bet ELSPA longs to whip up support for pan-European regulation in the hope the EU sees another opportunity for “harmonisation”, it’s just the kind of thing that gets the federalists excited. Hell they don’t mind asking for the right to interfere in matters of foreign policy, video game regulation must seem trivial in comparison. Sorry if I sound like a tin-foil hat wearing Daily Mail reader but lack of legal competence doesn’t convince me that we’re safe from EU interference. 😉

    Anyhoo, it’s all a moot point as the real stumbling block to any pan-European regulation is Germany. As a major player within the EU there’s no way Germany would adopt the more liberal regulatory standards of other member states, conversely almost no-one else would adopt Germany’s restrictive standards. ELSPA really are flogging a dead horse here and commendable as “not going down without a fight” is I do have to wonder whether their efforts could be better spent elsewhere.


  35. GusTavtoo says:

    There is nothing to stop an individual EU Member State adopting PEGI as its standard, other than that PEGI would be in no way accountable to it. When have national Governments, which are highly accountable to national electorates, ever given sensitive classification powers to entirely unaccountable supra-national industry bodies?

    The EU has no competence in this area, which is very important as it means it cannot adopt legislation. Whether is has authority I leave to the politicians and demagogues.

  36. Gift says:

    Well I believe ELSPA are flogging a dead horse here, but there’s nothing stopping them from urging individual governments within the EU adopting PEGI.

    Also since when did a lack of competence stop the EC dipping its oar in? Or do you mean authority? In which case the same seems to apply.


  37. GusTavToo says:


    This pro-PEGI push fails to recognise that the only pan-European body which could create such a system, the EC, has no competence to act in this area, and even if it did it is unlikley that you would get sufficient agreement between the 27 Member States as to what the ‘common’ standard should be.

    It’s all very well for the industry to keep pushing for PEGI, but PEGI can’t deliver what the UK Govt, or the German Govt, want. The whole idea is a non-starter.


  38. Gift says:

    Somehow I doubt YouGov used leading questions. That would rather undermine their credibility as a market research agency. While I’d like to see the methodology to analyse it myself, somehow I doubt YouGov would introduce such a systematic source of bias.


    PS BTW. the headline is misleading again GP.

  39. Anonymous says:

    Yep, I suspect most people asked had visions of a Europe-Wide BBFC rating system, since the question they were asked did not specifically ask a preference for the system, only if it should be Europe-wide.

  40. Jezcentral says:

    This sounds like a survey that was prefaced by a load of leading questions.

    When asked what PEGI is, most people in the UK would respond "Uh, what now?".

  41. Anonymous says:

    And to clarify, I mean by the ratings themselves, I’d say that most people neither know nor care about the functional differences between the BBFC and PEGI.

  42. Chuma ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Is there any actual information on the survey itself or the way in which the data was collated?

  43. Anonymous says:

    Thats all well and good but there’s a slight problem with all this. If the ESRB and other systems are ‘adaquite and working’ then why are there still so many people calling for bans on games and other silliness like that. The reason is because these rating systems are so often ignored by the very people they’er meant to inform. When Mr.Anderson goes out and buys GTA4 for his 6 year old without a second thought and then sees the game himself, breaks the disk and pitches a fit in public about all this, all it’s a symptom of is bad parenting. If people don’t start taking responicblity for this on their own and figuring out "hey I should pay attention to what my lil johnny wants to play so I don’t warp him." then all of this rating system stuff is useless.  For the record, I like the ESRB and this rating system of the europeans seems pretty solid too. But seriously unless parents follow suit and start using it there’s little point.

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