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UK retailers face jail-time for breaking age rating laws

Video Standards Council takes charge

Sell an Xbox 360 game that's rated 12 or above to somebody not aged 12 or above, Mr Retailer, and you could be locked up. After the summer, anyway. The Video Standards Council has assumed charge of UK videogame age ratings, and has a "simpler and stronger" approach in mind.

The Pan-European Games Information rating system comes into effect on Blighty shores in July, and will be enforced more stringently than current British Board of Film Classification ratings. The BBFC will continue to work on game age ratings in an advisory capacity, called upon to judge games with gross violence or sexual material.

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According to Creative Industries Minister Ed Vaizey, this will "give parents greater confidence that their children can only get suitable games while we are creating a simpler system for industry having their games age-rated." Games and entertainment body Ukie has said PEGI provides "much needed clarity for consumers", and is planning a "major awareness campaign to help the public understand the system and other aspects of responsible gaming".

The changes are a necessary "evolutionary" step, according to TIGA's Richard Wilson. "It simplifies the system. 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."

Do you think selling a violent game to a kid should be punishable by imprisonment? There's a fledgling discussion under way in the forum. Our thanks to The Beeb for the story.

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