Video Game Ratings To Be Enforced With Jail Time In The UK

It’s… interesting to see the creeping fascism imposed on the rest of by parents who believe the world should be babyproofed for all time, lest their precious snowflakes be exposed to even the most remotely controversial idea. The latest example of such nonsense concerns Britain’s video games rating system, which has now been taken over by the ominously-named Video Standards Council, in order to bring them in line with the standards used across the European union.

Previously, British game ratings were handled by the British Board of Film Classification; the VSC will apply the Pan European Game Information system (PEGI), and enforce compliance with the full power of British law enforcement. Naturally, The Independent Games Developers Association (TIGA), the UK’s equivalent of the ESRB, thinks this is just peachy. TIGA rep Richard Wilson told the BBC that this is an “evolutionary” step. “It simplifies the system,” he said. “The Pegi system is reasonably easy to understand. The fact there are criminal sanctions in place will mean that retailers will want to train and support their staff.”

Wait, did he just say criminal sanctions? Yes, yes he did. The coppers will actually be empowered to arrest people suspected of selling a Pegi-12 rated game to an 11 year old, and if convicted, these people will face jail time. “It will give parents greater confidence that their children can only get suitable games,” said Creative Industries Minister Ed Vaizey, “while we are creating a simpler system for industry having their games age-rated.” I, for one, definitely feel safe knowing that lowly clerks who make the British equivalent of minimum wage can face actual jail time for failing to card a 10 year old, don’t you? It’s laws like this that justify the British requirement that everyone above the age of 5 carry proper ID on them at all times. Oh, wait.

The new system is expected to come into force by July this year. Soon after, we’ll probably see minimum wage flunkies getting jail time. And UK parents can rest easy knowing that their kids will never, ever, ever be exposed to violent entertainment again.

Via Edge-Online

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10 Comments on Video Game Ratings To Be Enforced With Jail Time In The UK


On May 12, 2012 at 2:08 pm


So… why can’t these parents regulate their children’s entertainment themselves? Why does the UK, which I thought was sort of strapped for cash, need a new government bureaucracy specifically to do a parents job for them?


On May 12, 2012 at 2:31 pm

There’s always been a percentage of people in society that have a really hard time understanding the phrase “personal responsibility”. However, when it escalates to that point that people are potentially facing jail time because other people refuse to take responsibility for parenting their precious little devilspawn, then things are seriously out of whack.


On May 12, 2012 at 4:52 pm

Step 1: Child finds 16 year old who wants a quick 5 dollars.
Step 2: 16 year old buys game
Step 3: Kid plays a game.

Ross Lincoln

On May 12, 2012 at 5:16 pm

Careful, Anathemize, they might pass a law forbidding people to turn 16 until they turn 18.


On May 13, 2012 at 2:35 am

Im not really sure how I feel about this to be honest.

On one hand, I think elevating video games to the status of alcohol and tobacco is silly. Threatening the seller with jail time is taking things too far.

On the other hand, this is what retailers get for not ever taking this matter seriously.


On May 13, 2012 at 2:52 pm

@Axetwin: I don’t know about the UK, but I worked at a Gamestop in the US and they were militant about checking IDs for rated M games. Anyone who looked under 30 got carded, and if you got caught not carding you got one warning and after that you were fired. Then because of pawn shop laws we were also very vigilant about taking down information for trade-ins. I don’t think any of us were not taking it seriously, even without the threat of jail time.

Mr Glassback

On May 13, 2012 at 11:34 pm

Welcome to the nanny state. I knew this country was in trouble when they started making our kids wear goggles to play conkers. Pathetic.


On May 14, 2012 at 1:58 am

I feel bad for the people that live in the UK but this isn’t really going to be a problem for vary much longer with almost all the games these days going directly into digital sales, even the next xbox was rumored to be based on digital games only sales.

With this type of setup the parents are 100% at fault since its there credit card.

So hang in there UK, the pain will be gone soon enough.


On May 14, 2012 at 8:37 am

lol… what an outrage those 11 years old kid who went to buy a video game got the money from their parents in the 1st place…. now their parents will buy the game them selves for their kids…. Compltely ridiculous, going to jail before u sold a 13 years old min. game to a 12 years old… what *ucking world do we live in ? evrey new law take away our *ucking freedom.


On May 18, 2012 at 6:19 am

shame its normally the parents that buy the game for there kids.