The PEGI (Pan European Game Information) ratings system has become legally enforceable in the UK, which means retailers and publishers that sell video games to children are now liable for fines and possible imprisonment. This is due to a new age classification system being forcefully implemented to crack down on unsuitable content for certain age groups.
All video games will be regulated under the PEGI system this coming Monday, which also makes it illegal to sell 12-rated games to underage children (among the usual certifications). Until this time, the BBFC (British Board of Film Classification) has only provided 15 and 18 age certificates that are legally enforceable, making it legal for children to purchase 12-rated media. But what does this mean for Windows Phone users?
Not an awful lot for now as the majority of Xbox LIVE titles available on Windows Phone have certification present in the app overview page, but beyond that there's little control on what content younglings can access on the growing Marketplace. A PEGI Windows Phone app is also available, which helps users keep up-to-date with the latest ratings, to see what the rating certificates / content reports mean, and to search titles.
According to UKIE president Jo Twist, Microsoft has already signed up to PEGI Express for Windows Phone 8 where apps submitted to the Marketplace will be included under the ratings system.
"Windows 8 Mobile has already signed up to use PEGI Express, to include their apps under the ratings system. So I think that's a big move, and once one platform holder like that goes down that line, hopefully others will follow."
This will hopefully mean more apps and games will have the ratings visible. Apple currently uses its own ratings system, but Twist believes Apple will include apps submitted to the iOS App Store under the PEGI ratings system in the future. Being the sole classification system in the UK, PEGI is set to make the gaming world a safer place for the younger generation, or attempt to do so anyway. We'll be sure to report on more details as Apollo draws closer.
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