A new survey on how the PEGI (Pan European Game Information) rating system is being used in European Union member states has recommended that it be strengthened in order to protect children.
In particular, the lack of effort made in some countries to enforce the age limits specified by the system came under criticism. As a result, a code of conduct has been called for by 2010, to ensure retailers pay more attention to the ratings. Additional systems for verifying the age of those buying games were also called for.
The survey, carried out by the European Commission, found that twenty nation states currently use the PEGI system, although approaches varied on how the system’s recommendations were supported.
Germany and Lithuania are the only countries which govern by law how games are sold, with Malta using border laws to prohibit the import of some titles and another fifteen countries banning the sale of adult rated games to children.
The usefulness of the PEGI system has recently come under debate in the UK, where the high profile Byron Review suggested that
the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) takeover responsibility for all titles rated for users aged 12 and above.
Under these recommendations the PEGI system, which uses both numerical age rating and a series of icons to indicate particular types of content, would be used exclusively only for games aimed at younger children.
"Our clear message today is that industry and national authorities must go further to ensure that all parents have the power to make the right decisions for themselves and their child," said EU consumer commissioner Meglena Kuneva, as quoted by the BBC