According to research by the online magazine Gamecreator, the classification authority for the age marking of video games, PEGI (Pan-European Game Information), decided to recommend video games with casino content that are based on gambling only for players aged 18 and over.
With this step, the European agency for the classification of media content wants to ensure that video games with a casino character will no longer be accessible to minors.
PEGI explained to Gamecreator:
The definition we use for games in which (elements of) games of chance are present does not change, only the result has been updated: If PEGI 12 was previously advertised, PEGI 18 now applies.
As of now, all video games that “teach or promote how to play in casinos” are only available to adult players.
PEGI gives age recommendations for computer games across Europe. This should make it easier for parents to assess the extent to which games are suitable for their offspring. An age limit of 18 years usually applies to games that contain violence or sexual content. The assessment is only a recommendation for manufacturers.
The new classification is based on the initiative of the media and communication authority of Norway, which wants to keep children and young people away from the casino games. However, there is a transition period for games that will appear in the next six months, during which manufacturers can make adjustments to the content of their games.
Games with loot boxes are not promoted
However, the classification also generates criticism. Youth protection officers complain that the “from 18” identifier for the casino games falls short because other games with gambling content are not affected by the minimum age.
The critics refer primarily to the loot boxes that can be found in many games. Players can purchase these to upgrade their characters, revamp them, or improve their skill level.
The catch on the boxes: the players do not know beforehand what exactly is hidden in them. This means that they can be equated with gambling, since the content depends on chance, according to the critics.
It remains to be seen whether PEGI will agree with this opinion in the future. So long it remains that minors are not allowed to use games with the gambling criteria defined by PEGI, but can still try their luck at loot boxes.
What is PEGI? Clearly explained
With games and trailers you come across the term PEGI again and again. In this practical tip, we clarify what that actually is and what the individual PEGI symbols mean.
The PEGI system – that's the reason
PEGI has been around since 2003 and is the abbreviation for “Pan-European Game Information”. It is a system with age recommendations for computer games, which applies across Europe and is intended to help parents in particular to assess the games.
The PEGI system is divided into two parts:
On game packaging you will find not only a symbol for the age recommendation but also several black and white symbols that describe the exact content of the game. You can find detailed information on this in the third paragraph.
PEGI was planned as a uniform European standard for computer games. A total of 30 European countries have also adopted the system – including Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, England, Finland, France, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Austria, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.
However, the PEGI system does not apply in Germany. In this country, you rely on the USK. Nevertheless, you will also find PEGI symbols on many German games, since the developers also produce the game for the Austrian and Swiss markets.
The procedure: This is how PEGI checks
As already mentioned, the PEGI system consists of an age recommendation and a content assessment. The procedure for this is pretty precisely regulated:
A game is rated personally by the game industry using a rating sheet. To do this, the individual game developers must join the PEGI system and sign a code of conduct. As a result, they are obliged to only provide buyers and parents with truthful and objective information about the age of the games.
A preliminary PEGI evaluation is then given based on the information provided by the programmer. This suggested age recommendation is then checked and reviewed by NICAM (the Dutch institute for the classification of audiovisual media). If the institute agrees with the recommendations, it grants a license to use the PEGI logos.
The PEGI symbols – that is what the logos mean
There are five main logos in the PEGI system that represent an age recommendation. Games are – depending on the content – released for players from 3 years, 7 years, 12 years, 16 years or 18 years:
Game from 3+: The content of these games is suitable for all ages. There are few depictions of violence that (if at all) only occur in a funny context. In addition, the characters of children should not be able to be associated with real beings, but should be fantasy characters. The games should also not use pictures or sounds that could scare young children. Of course, vulgar language is not allowed.
Game from 7+: This category includes all games that are normally classified as 3+, but are not suitable for younger children due to possibly fearful scenes or noises.
Game from 12+: This game has a somewhat more pronounced depiction of violence against fantasy creatures or indicated violence against human-looking beings or animals. Video games with smaller nude pictures also fall into this category. Slight vulgar language is possible.
Game from 16+: This classification includes games in which violence or sexual acts are depicted in a realistic setting. In addition, stronger vulgar language, the representation of tobacco and drug use and criminal acts are possible.
Game 18+: Games in this category are only recommended for adults. Here the violence shown acts cruel or certain types of violence are shown. This is generally the case when the violence portrayed causes disgust to the viewer.