Department for Culture Media and Sport
We sponsor the UK computer and video games sector, which makes a valuable contribution to our economy. Games made in UK studios generate global sales of around £1.7 billion a year and contribute around £400 million per annum to GDP.
We work with the sector to identify the drivers, challenges and opportunities for growth and productivity for individual businesses and for the UK games industry.
We work to build strong relationships with major computer and video games companies and their representative bodies, including the two national trade associations – the UK Interactive Entertainment Association (UKIE) and Tiga.
We are the voice for the industry in Government, seeking to ensure that Government policies (in the UK and beyond) support the competitiveness of the games sector.
We also work with stakeholders to keep them up to date on Government policy developments, and we’re responsible for classification issues for media.
The Byron Review's Safer Children in a Digital World recommended making changes to the way video games are classified (age rated) in the UK. Following a full public consultation on options Government made provision, via the Digital Economy Act 2010, to create a single video games rating system based on the pan-European PEGI ratings and to extend the statutory backing so that video games rated 12 are covered for the first time.
Secondary legislation – Video Recordings (Labelling) Regulations 2012 – was passed setting out requirements for the PEGI age symbols to be carried on video games’ packaging and the Video Standard Council has been formally designated as the new games rating authority.
The new arrangements for video games classification and labelling are in force from 30 July. The new system means that in the UK :
There will be no need for retailers to remove products classified and labelled under the old system from their shelves. Transitional Provision Regulations were laid in Parliament to preserve any determinations issued in the past by either the Video Standards Council or the British Board of Film Classification as to the suitability of a video game to be viewed by persons over the age of 12. This means that from 30 July it will be an offence to supply games that are only suitable for persons aged 12 years and above in breach of that age rating, even if the age determination has been made by the BBFC or VSC before 30 July. This provides a seamless transition for the new arrangements and means that retailers just need to look at the age rating on the box to ascertain what restrictions apply to the video game – regardless of when those age ratings were made by the classifying body.
Retailers have been dealing with the sale of age-restricted video games and DVDs for many years. However, Trading Standards Officers, central and local government will work in partnership with all retailers in the months ahead to help them ensure that they all understand the new requirements for video games and that staff are fully trained.
More information about PEGI ratings and about the classification system for video games can be found on the Video Standards Council website.
To help raise awareness of the PEGI age ratings on video games and to promote messages about safe gaming, the trade body UKIE (the UK Association for Interactive Entertainment) has launched a new campaign, Control.Collaborate.Create. More information can be found on the Ask About Games website. The Control.Collaborate.Create campaign runs until Christmas.
The UK sector:
The UK computer games market:
The UK’s console market: