PEGI rating system to become law in the UK

As if I don't get enough hassle from kids asking me to buy booze and cigarettes for them. From July they'll be asking me to buy them videogames too!

People have been calling for tighter regulation of videogames since before an 8-bit General Custer brandished his tumescent pixel-wang on the Atari 2600. Apparently it’s to do with preserving the starry-eyed innocence of youth or some such twaddle, even though television, movies and the modern education system crush kids’ innocence into a fine powder long before their hands are big enough to hold a controller. While I personally don’t buy the idea that fantasy violence somehow encourages real violence (quite the opposite actually) I do believe it’s generally a good idea to keep questionable content out of the grubby hands of minors. Besides, what’s the point of being a grown-up if you can’t tease kids about all the cool grown-up stuff you get to do?

Teasing kids about being able to legally purchase a gory violent first-person shooter will become even more satisfying come July, when according to the good old BBC the PEGI videogame rating system (Europe’s version of the ESRB rating system) is to be enshrined in UK law. Under the new system proposed by the government all games released in the UK will be rated according to PEGI’s existing guidelines, and will be legally enforced amongst retailers by the Video Standards Council. Under the current system PEGI’s ratings are merely polite suggestions and can be ignored without any legal consequence. This new law will give PEGI ratings the same legal muscle as BBFC ratings for movies, meaning anybody selling a game to a child under the rated age could face a fine of up to £5000 ($8000 USD) or even go to prison.

It also removes a cop-out commonly employed by the kind of lazy or negligent parents who buy a PEGI 16+ rated game for their 10 year-old loin-spawn and then have the gall to kick up a fuss about it. It’s not going to stop the worst offenders buying mature games for their immature squealing rugrats, but at least they won’t be able to blame the retailer for selling an 18+ game to a supposedly-responsible adult who then gave it to their child. I’d love to see a so-called parent who tries that under this new law go crying about it to their local MP or nearest tabloid journalist. We need more “Idiot parent ignores age rating: supplies gory murder simulator to underage son” headlines and less “Interactive kill-porn peddled to our pure, innocent offspring!”

As with movies however this law won’t stop those kids who are really determined from getting their hands on the next Call of Duty title. What it will do is make things a bit tougher for the little scamps and hopefully educate a few clueless parents in the process. Only brick and mortar stores will be affected by this new law with online and digital downloads remaining exempt, presumably since both of those methods require a credit or debit card. Parents who wouldn’t think twice about buying a physical product for their child might have reservations about buying them a game on their credit card, particularly if they’re familiar with a certain Smurfs Village story. Expect to see a lot of “how can I get this game if I don’t have a credit card?” questions on your favourite internet forums in the near future.

Hey kids, you know what else is cool about being a grown-up? Having your own money and the means to buy your own stuff online. Sucks to be you!

Source: BBC

Matt

About Matt

Matt is the irresponsible degenerate behind bitscreed.com and the sarcastic writer, editor, director, presenter and tea boy of Pixel Burn.