PEGI Rolls Out New Rating Symbols

Fresh on the heels of yesterday’s announcement that it would be the sole video game content rating agency for the U.K., PEGI has unveiled an updated set of symbols depicting its age guidelines for games. reports that the new ratings are 3, 7, 12, 16 and 18, with color coding that runs from green to orange. Current symbols representing additional content information suchas violence, language, discrimination, sex and online play will remain in use.

UPDATE: is now reporting that British game publishers trade group ELSPA will foot the bill for a marketing campaign to inform parents about the new PEGI ratings.

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  1. Cheater87 says:

    If M was made to 18 then I think M would be the new AO and M games will be banned and we can only play E, E10 and T rated games then. :'( 

  2. MrKlorox says:

    We still need AO for the sake of games that would not fit in the 18 rating. It’s well known that porn was largely responsible for the proliferation of VHS players in the 80’s and DVD players in the late 90’s. Things are only going to get more interactive. An AO (XXX) equivalent is going nowhere as long as interactive software is being rated and humanity desires carnal pleasures.

    Though I could eventually see ratings that reflected the actual content instead of simplifying it down to the projected age group. Ultra violence does not belong in the same "rating" as pornography. Same for sports games vs building sims. (edit: checks PEGI site) Nevemind… looks like they’re already there.

    But I agree on every other point you have.

  3. MrKlorox says:

    I must reiterate: I do like the age scale of the PEGI system. These new labels are sure eye catching and not ambiguous like the ESRB’s symbols.


    EDIT: WTF? The sex symbol is to be used to represent that "Game depicts nudity and/or sexual behaviour or sexual references". That’s a pretty massive leap from nudity to sexual references (at least from an FCC filtered American’s POV… it’s probably not so much of a gap for the less sexually repressed Europeans). These logos also need to be color coded to reflect intensity.

  4. MaskedPixelante says:

    Yeah. Like Australia needs an 18 rating, we need a 15 rating. If there was a 15 rating, we wouldn’t have gotten a watered down version of Mortal Kombat vs. DC

    —You are likely to be eaten by a Grue.

  5. State says:

    I believe the PEGI ratings will receive legal backing.

    Anyone else found it odd that PEGI reveal new ratings on the day of the report? Obviously they must have been made aware of the decision some time before the report was published, but it also seems as though they were pretty confident of the decision going their way as well. No doubt in the meetings between MPs (or other government officials) and PEGI members there was a clear agreement that the decision would go their way before the actual vote would be made, but this is politics it’s a dirty business.

  6. GusTav2 says:

    From my reading of the comments here it appears as if PEGI will now be doing eactly the same job as the BBFC used to do – the main difference is that the Games insdustry will now have to pay for the regulation directly though PEGI (as they effectively shared the burden with the film industry through the BBFC).

    That pretty much fits with the UK Govts favoured system of ‘enforced self-regulation’ to use the terminology of Ayres and Braithwaite (that’s for regulation scholarship geeks).

    The only unresolved issue, which may be dealt with in the main report, I’ve not had a chance to read yet, is whether the new PEGI ratings will be legally enforced; as the BBFC ratings are. Will it be unlawful for a retailer to sell a 16 or 18 game to a person under that age?

    Not seen any discussion of that …

  7. Wormdundee says:

    This is exactly the age ranges the ESRB should have. The age gap between T and M is far too big. O, and get rid of AO, what a completely useless rating.

    What they should do is is make M to be age 18, and then anything that would have been rated AO or M goes in there. That way, a store can’t refuse to stock the 18 rating because of the ‘adult’ games, without also not stocking stuff like GTAIV. Which is a game they definitely want to stock.

    The whole symbols thing for PEGI is pretty silly too, the ESRB’s text descriptors are very good.

  8. State says:

    The colours are a move in the right direction (although I’m not happy that each piece of media has a separate type of certification now, it’s almost made games second class to films). A lot of games developers whilst calling for an end to BBFC ratings loved having the BBFC 18 certificate on their games as it was a great piece of advertising for a lot of children.

    But why are PEGI still sticking with those awful content logos (like a spider for fear/horror content)? Under the new system PEGI will also give a content description in the form of text (like BBFC did, eg "Contains strong violence"), why do they need pictures to go with it? Talk about content overload.

    The logos were also pointless and content descriptors such as Discrimination baffling. How on earth do you give an age classification to racism for example? What kids aren’t allowed to discriminate yet adults are? It doesn’t make any sense (and clearly seems to be an European idea), why do they need to age rate discrimination? The only descrimination I ever see in games is towards either Jedi or Sith.

  9. squigs says:

    Most game packages use greys and browns, and possible a few muted blues and greens.  Especially at the bottom.  Hell, at that section of the packaging, black is quite common. 

    Bright primaries are quite rare, especially on games where you might actually care about the rating. 

  10. beemoh says:

    Same. It strikes me as odd that aparrently a blob of colour within a load of other blobs of colour stands out more than a big black or white square withing a load of other blobs of colour does.


  11. konrad_arflane says:

    Erm. How does that make sense?

    Either system artificially imposes a relatively small number of categories on a continuum of content. That doesn’t mean each category in one system must correspond exactly to a category in the other. IOW, the fact that one game that’s rated T might get a 16 rating from PEGI doesn’t mean that another T game couldn’t get a 12 rating. It depends on how the individual game is evaluated based on the guidelines for each system (which, it should also be noted, are far from identical).

  12. Nocturne says:

    The thing is, they dont CARE. THATS the problem

    There’s a BBFC study on violent games on the VSC website, in the section on age ratings they reach the same conclusion.

  13. NovaBlack says:

    UPDATE: is now reporting that British game publishers trade group ELSPA will foot the bill for a marketing campaign to inform parents about the new PEGI ratings.”


    but why?

    I hate this myth that kids get hold of games because parents ‘dont know about’ or ‘dont understand’ video games and age ratings.

    They DO understand. Ayone with half a brain can understand.

    They ARE aware, i mean you have to look at the box for what? like 0.1 seconds to see the age rating staring you in the face.


    The thing is, they dont CARE. THATS the problem. And no ‘education campaign’ will fix that. Bad parents are bad parents. This campaign isnt going to suddenly change their way of living.

  14. State says:

    To make matters worse PEGI also use 4+, 6+ (for Portugal) and 11+, 15+ (for Sweden). So there are actually 9 age rating categories at PEGI.

  15. ZippyDSMlee says:

    Could work

    E10, T13, T16, M18.


    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..

  16. State says:

    The only parents that understand about the content in games are the ones that play games themselves, otherwise they just think that they’re all like Pac-Man. You could have a game called Prostitute Killer and parents would still think that it was suitable for a 6 year old child because it was a game, now if that had been a film it would be a completely different story.

    I’ve seen many parents refuse to buy their children 12 rated films but go and pick up 18 rated games for their kids quite happily.

  17. SticKboy says:

    I was referring to the old BBFC symbols, since this was an article about the PEGI rather than the ESRB.

  18. squigs says:

    Not to British politiicans. 

    I think the traffic light metaphor is strong enough and well understood enough to override such stupidity.  At least I hope so.

  19. ZippyDSMlee says:

    Well if you want top put halo in the M teen range then 16 is a better fit, also you have to remeber tis a guide post not a enforced on the rails type of deal so parents who don;t nit pick could easily allow 15 year olds to play M16 rated games.


    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..

  20. SticKboy says:

    I feel sorry for all the 15 year olds out there… that age gap just made more sense IMHOP, with a three year gap between ratings either side, instead of PEGI’s four and two.

  21. Wraith108 says:

    I agree, I think they need to push 16 back to 15. To me it’s still alot like the BBFC ratings with U and PG replaced with 3 and 7

  22. SilverMelee says:

    I agree. I really think the ESRB needs a middle ground for T and M-rated titles. Of course, since the ESRB doesn’t use numerical ratings (16+, 18+, etc.), what would they call it?

    My money’s on T15+, but I don’t think it’s as catchy as E10+…

    — I do more than just play games. I draw, too:

  23. Cheater87 says:

    I would like the ESRB to have something between 13 and 17. So games like Halo can go under there. They are violent but not 17 and up violent.

  24. Vake Xeacons says:

    I’m trying to figure out how they corrispond to ESRB ratings, 3,7,12,16,18. Is it EC, E, E+12, T, M? Or are we talking E, E+7, T for 12, M, and AO? They seem inbetween ESRB, either a little too strict, or a little too lax.

  25. JB says:

    No this wouldn’t work at all with the ESRB. It’s far to simple and too many parents will understand it without having to think much. No, the ESRB must use a more complex system to be accurate.

    In fact, with such a simple, understandable system, PEGI is out of order. The whole freaking system is out of order. You want the truth? You want the truth?! You can’t handle the truth! ‘Cause when you reach over and put your hand into a pile of goo that was your best friend’s face, you’ll know what to do! Forget it, Marge, it’s Chinatown


    Opps… got carried away there. Sarcasm overload! I need a beer.

  26. DarkSaber says:

    The BBFC had a 15.


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

  27. MaskedPixelante says:

    Now THESE are the age limits we need in the ESRB. Actually, just make that 16 into a 15, and it’ll be perfect.

    —You are likely to be eaten by a Grue.

  28. ZippyDSMlee says:

    The ESRB dose need  12 and 16 slots, it would futher drive apart litely mature titles with basic gore/sexual content like DQ8 and castelvina. And ya that would mean a adult range at 18+ which frankly we need if you are going to have any kind of full range rantings system.


    I don;t think the 15/16 thing for pegi would be an issue unless kids get ID cards are 13….


    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..

  29. 1AgainstTheWorld says:

    The different colors made me think of the U.S.’s ridiculous terror-alert system.  So in this case, red indicates a "high probability of videogame-related violence" (at least to clueless judges and politicians).

  30. squigs says:

    Good for PEGI.

    I’ve often commented that a back and white image doesn’t stand out on a a package (typically in fairly muted colours).  This is a good change.

    I still think the content descriptors are a load of rubbish. 

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