It’s PEGI Over BBFC in British Video Game Rating Battle

After more than a year of consideration, the British Government has selected the Pan-European Game Information system, better known as PEGI, will handle video game content rating chores in the U.K.

The announcement was made a short time ago and is contained in Lord Stephen Carter’s Digital Britain report.

The U.K. video game industry is sure to be pleased with the news. British game publishers association ELSPA lobbied hard for PEGI during the 15 months since Dr. Tanya Byron’s review recommended that there be a single content rating system for the U.K. ELSPA boss Mike Rawlinson was ebullient over the announcement:

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 videogames 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.

On the other hand – as in the United States where the ESRB handles ratings – some will question whether the video game industry can be relied up to effectively self-regulate.

For its part, the BBFC issued a statement reflecting its disappointment but vowing to support the Government’s decision:

The BBFC has always supported PEGI and wished it well, but it continues to believe that it satisfies these requirements better than PEGI. However, it will cooperate fully in the detailed work needed to give effect to the Government’s decision. And it must be independent in substance as well as appearance, reaching its decisions and providing information on the basis of its own detailed assessments.

Among the video game community the BBFC is best known for the controversial nationwide ban it imposed on Manhunt 2 in 2007. That edict was later overturned by Britain’s High Court.

Via: TechRadar

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on RedditEmail this to someone


  1. mr_mlk says:

    I wonder if dry loops are included. <googles/> Oh. :shakefist: @ BT

    Then a DSL-only Cable line. Vonage or the like can handle my phone.

    A house is not a home unless it contains food and fire for the mind as well as the body. Benjamin Franklin

  2. GoodRobotUs says:

    What annoys me more is what else is in the report, from the BBC site:


    Every Briton with a fixed-line phone will pay a "small levy" of 50p per month to pay for faster net access.

    The national fund created by the levy will be used to ensure most Britons get access to future net technologies.

    The proposal is part of the Digital Britain report outlined by Culture Secretary Ben Bradshaw in Parliament.


    Sounds like yet another ‘back-door’ tax from Nu-Labour…

    What makes it worse is that they privatized telecommunications years ago.

  3. DarkSaber says:

    The Video Standards Council to get the ability to outright ban games later this year. Be very afraid.


    I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

  4. State says:

    Censorship is predominantly applied to media that isn’t allowed. Child pornography in itself is the depiction of (usually a real) illegal act, the act being committed in it is illegal whilst the photograph/film shows the act. The illegal nature of child pornography is due to the illegal nature of the act committed in it and the pornogaphy is illegal to prevent the act from taking place, in affect child pornography is censored because the act it depicts is illegal.

    Whilst I’m not too sure on the legalisation dealing with snuff films (although none actually exist, terrorist videos aren’t classifed as snuff either), it follows a similar line to child pornogaphy, the act committed is illegal therefore the footage is censored. But not all depictions of illegal acts are censored (or illegal) such as other crimes (like robbery and assault) and drug use. So your examples of censorship are false. The fact is that people like to claim to be against all forms of censorship, yet when they actually see it used as a force for good they try to find other reasons why those examples are outside of the argument such as "it’s illegal, it harms someone".

    Both child pornography and snuff films give very good examples of the good use of censorship. The statement "censorship is never good" is false (and that is simply too much for you to handle).

  5. DarkSaber says:

    Why not look at the conditions that your own beloved constitution sets down for allowing censorship of free speech?


    I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

  6. Wormdundee says:

    I think someone doesn’t understand what censorship is…

    Your little rant there in the parentheses is fairly nonsensical. How does the argument you mention have no effect on ‘censorship is never good’?

    The word ‘censor’ does not magically apply to everything that is not allowed. Since you seem to believe that breaking the law doesn’t make it not censorship, apparently we are ‘censoring’ murder by not allowing people to do it.

    The word ‘censor’ does not apply to acts that are illegal. If I were to take a hardline stance on this sort of thing, I would say that any child porn that does not involve real people should be perfectly legal. And in fact, this is what I actually believe. I think you are fucking wacked out if you draw it or watch it, but you’re not harming anybody, so who cares?

    I want to see if you can come up with an actual good use for censorship without resorting to fallacious reasoning.

  7. State says:

    Censorship is never a good thing?

    Well child pornography is censored, I say that’s a good thing. There you go censorship is not a black & white issue, there are examples of when it is good to use and examples of when it is bad to use. Don’t say that censorship is always bad.

    (I await the response that says "Well it’s different if it actually hurts someone or breaks the law", because that has no bearing on the statement "censorship is never good").

  8. DarkSaber says:

    At least the BBFC had the balls to call a ban a ban and not just create an effective ban rating of AO that they can then straight-facededly say isn’t a ban, even though it effectively is.

    "Oh, you want your game re-classified into a rating that will actually be sold in stores, well you better cut the bits we say then. But we haven’t banned your game, we’ve just given it a rating we know no store will stock." Yeah, that’s a MUCH better appraoch. *eye roll*


    And later this year the VSC will get the ability to say "This game was rated 18, but it offends our UK-specific sensibilities, so we’re gonna ban it." Yeah, BIG improvement over a system that only refused to classify 2 games in it’s entire history.


    I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

  9. ZippyDSMlee says:

    Acouple games a dozen films who cares right?

    Sorry but it eqautes to censorship and that is enver a good thing.


    I am a criminal because I purchase media,I am a criminal because I use media, I am a criminal because I chose to own media..We shall remain criminals until Corporate stay’s outside our bedrooms..

  10. DarkSaber says:

    You;ve hit the nail bang on the head there.


    I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

  11. State says:

    PEGI have shown in the past that they do not rate games well at all. I’m afraid I must refer to my example of Mass Effect again which was rated 18+ by PEGI, 12 by BBFC, the content within the game fits the content found within a 12 rated game, whilst the European system decided that a mild lesbian sex scene made the game 18+. That put Mass Effect in the same category as Manhunt 2, now whilst I would allow a 12+ child to play Mass Effect I would not want them playing Manhunt 2 and if I took the content of Mass Effect to be an example of a PEGI 18+ game I would expect similar content in Manhunt 2. This is where confusion will arise and parents will get the idea that 18+ isn’t that bad because PEGI are all too willing to rate a game at 18+. They are actually damaging the credibility of their own ratings system. After all games ratings are there to be used as guidance for the parents to make informed decisions, I fear this will become much harder with PEGI rating every game.

    PEGI is far from perfect, I really hope that the organisation gets a mature view on sex (or is it just gay sex they have a problem with?) and that it stops rating every game with it in at 18+, it’s not exactly a European view on the subject and gets round to the ESRB way of thinking that a game that contains sex equates to porn. It’s going to affect the artform from maturing. The BBFC took the same view on sex in games that it does with film and gave much more balanced views on the subject. The BBFC has always had a better understanding of games than PEGI.

    PEGI needs to do something with the ratings scale, 3+, 7+, 12+, 16+, 18+. The gap between 12 and 16 is too huge whilst 16 and 18 is not enough. 12+, 15+, 18+ will fix that.

    I’m concerned with the events in Germany and their view on violent games and how this may affect the Pan-European certification process.

    I can’t see how PEGI protects children online whilst the BBFC didn’t. Both didn’t and both will never. PEGI can’t be responsible for the content said and typed by others online and to believe that it does is ridiculous. Protection for children online is not improved at all.

  12. GoodRobotUs says:

    I’m not sure how PEGI is better, however, the BBFC system seems to work very well with the scope it currently has. I’m not sure industry-based global rating is really ‘the thing of the future’, I’m sure the Industry would love us to believe as such, but they walk a far thinner wire than a neutral system such as the BBFC, and a lot more people are looking to push them off that wire.

    Game distribution I can understand, since you only need to go through one rating system, rather than one for each country, so, I’ll concede that one 🙂

    Considering the UK is far from the most conservative country in Europe, I see this as only being a stop-off point along the way, you may be right that a more widespread rating system is the future, but it’s going to be very difficult to implement, even on a Europe-wide scale, what is acceptable in the UK may well be considered totally unacceptable in France, Germany or Greece, for example, homogenizing the system may not be as easy as simply changing the rating scheme.

  13. beemoh says:

    >Still, I can’t really see an advantage of one over the other apart from ‘Europleasing’.

    PEGI being an significantly better system than the BBFC, PEGI understanding games while the BBFC doesn’t, the move towards geographically broader ratings boards being a much smarter step considering the inevitable and imminent demise of formalised ratings systems- all of which as a concept are outdated, unworkable and obsolete, and streamlines the international distribution of indie games, at least within Europe. There’s four for you.



  14. DarkSaber says:

    Not the VAC, the Video Standards Council, and the bit that worries me is when they say the power to ban is being given so they can address UK-specific sensibilities. Can you say "enforcing morals on people"?


    And I agree, it’s europleasing.


    I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

  15. GoodRobotUs says:

    Yup, reading up on more details, it seems the VAC still has the power to ban games even if PEGI passes them.

    Still, I can’t really see an advantage of one over the other apart from ‘Europleasing’.

  16. beemoh says:

    The channels are just as accessible as they were- you still go to the Video Appeals Committee, who oversee the Video Standards Council, who are acting as the people that get to do the actual banning.

    When it was the BBFC, it was the VAC who Rockstar appealed to over the MH2 ban first time around, this hasn’t changed.


  17. ZippyDSMlee says:

    Its not the BBFC and is closer to the PEGI thus its pegi and has futher to fall.


    I am a criminal because I purchase media,I am a criminal because I use media, I am a criminal because I chose to own media..We shall remain criminals until Corporate stay’s outside our bedrooms..

  18. Nocturne says:

    Yeah 2 games refused classificaiton over a 23 year period, both which got released later, 23 games that have recieved cuts (a whole 1 game a year, nearly all porn ‘games’) really pushing a hardline agenda to block content there…..

  19. DarkSaber says:

    Except PEGI as it is is NOT being used. They are creating a NEW ratings system with PEGI as a foundation. And the Video Standards Council willo get the ability to outright ban any game they chose later this year to both ‘protect the children’ AND, very worryingly "addressing UK-specific sensibilities"


    I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

  20. ZippyDSMlee says:

    The BBFC is a goverment shill to slowly ban anything questionable to the public, so its good its lost some power now the question is will PEGI pull the same sorry ass"We can not slot this title because our masters do not want this kind of title on the market." BS the BBFC pulled.

    Its simple slot it and let the market do its damn job!


    I am a criminal because I purchase media,I am a criminal because I use media, I am a criminal because I chose to own media..We shall remain criminals until Corporate stay’s outside our bedrooms..

  21. Gift says:

    Well now there’s a surprise. Governments rarely follow all the recommendations in the reports they commission but I thought they’d go with Byron in this case. Ah well, happy days!


  22. TBoneTony says:

    I felt that the BBFC and PEGI should have worked together on this. To find the balance between allowing parents to know how to protect their kids against such things they don’t want them to see in Videogames against the need to allow adults do have their choice of playing videogames that they want to play.

    This will make little difference to me, considering that Hentai games from Japan are banned anyway.

    I am sure the PEGI know this, and they will be sure not to allow such things to pass unless if they want another Keith Vass stunt.



  23. GoodRobotUs says:

    Thing is, when people weren’t happy about the Manhunt 2 ban, there was a system to go through to appeal the ban, there were defined channels to go through, and now those channels are going to become a lot less accessible.

    Personally, I couldn’t give a damn about Manhunt 2, but I dislike the idea of having the ability to voice our concerns about ratings, be they too high or too low, curtailed by outsourcing the rating system.

  24. Matthew says:

    The law hasn’t changed though; any game refused a rating by the VSC/PEGI will be banned from sale in the UK.

    While there will be lots of people claiming this as a victory of some sorts against the tyranny of the BBFC’s supposed draconian ratings policy, it isn’t. Games are still bannable, it’s just going to be a different body banning them.

  25. GoodRobotUs says:

    Frankly, I’m surprised.

    Will be interesting to see how this pans out, there was no real reason not to use the BBFC, so the decision kind of confuses me at the moment. The only thing I can think is that PEGI is more ‘European’ flavoured, which is where the UK is trying to head.

  26. MaskedPixelante says:

    Time to back up the Waaaahmbulance for the BBFC?

    —You are likely to be eaten by a Grue.

Comments are closed.