UPDATED: European Commission Targets Games Industry

EU says PEGI needs improving

Posted by Staff
UPDATED: European Commission Targets Games Industry
The European Commission has called on the games industry to tighten up its measures preventing the sale of mature video games to minors.

An announcement from the Commission states:

?In the Commission's view, industry must invest more to strengthen and in particular to regularly update the PEGI (Pan European Games Information) system so that it becomes a truly effective pan-European tool. Also, industry and public authorities should step up cooperation to make classification and age rating systems better known and to avoid confusion caused by parallel systems. A Code of Conduct for retailers should be drawn up within two years on sales of video games to minors.?


The Commission has also stated that individual countries need to ?incorporate PEGI into their own classification systems and make sure people know about it?. It goes on to assert that a new way of checking consumers' ages needs to be found.

The EU and PEGI disagree on how many of the EU's 27 member countries actually use PEGI. The announcement tells us, "4 Member States (Cyprus, Luxembourg, Romania and Slovenia) have no system in place." PEGI, however, tells us that its classification system applies to all four of those countries.

The EU Consumer Protection Commissioner, Meglena Kuneva, has acknowledged that there is no proven link between violent games and violent behaviour. "We want to work in this environment on a precautionary principle", Kuneva said?.

The announcement does make mention of ?public concerns that video games can cause aggressive behaviour?, however. It claims that these concerns have been ?heightened by school shootings such as in Helsinki (Finland, November 2007), have led several national authorities to ban or block video games such as 'Manhunt 2'.? So, while the EU notes there is no proven link between games and real world violence, it has no qualms about stirring up public concern that such a link does exist.

The EC could, of course, have implemented its own legally-enforcible system. It is encouraging that the Commission has not taken such a heavy-handed approach.

"Video games have become a strong pillar of Europe's content industry and are experiencing booming sales across Europe. This is welcome, but implies greater responsibility for the industry to ensure that parents know what kind of games their children play", said Viviane Reding, EU Commissioner for the Information Society and Media. "PEGI, as an example of responsible industry self-regulation and the only such system with almost pan-European coverage, is certainly a very good first step. However, I believe it can be greatly improved, in Europe and beyond, by making the public more aware about its existence and fully implementing PEGI Online. I also call on Member States and the industry to govern the sale of video games in shops to respect the fundamental need to protect minors."

"All consumers need clear, accurate information to make informed choices. But this is particularly about children ? some of the most vulnerable consumers in society. And 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", Kuneva added.

Paul Jackson, the director general of the Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers' Association (ELSPA), supported PEGI, saying ?Importantly, it protects children as games move increasingly online and therefore should be adopted by UK regulators. We look forward to discussing this at the forthcoming UK consultation??.

In the UK we have just seen the results of the Byron Review into the effects of mature games on children published, with findings that are not a million miles from the EC's recommendations (you can see SPOnG's exit interview with Dr Byron here). Meanwhile, a separate investigation is under way by a Parliamentary sub-committee. How the EC's demands will fit with these reviews remains to be seen.

Update: SPOnG contacted the Department of Culture, Media & Sport for comment on the Commission's statement and was simply told the following - "In her recent report, ?Safer Children in a Digital World?, Dr Tanya Byron recommended a consultation on the options for improving the classifcation (sic) of games. The Government has accepted her recommedantions (sic) and we'll be producing a consultation soon."

??Source: Reuters
Companies:
People:

Comments

deleted 23 Apr 2008 12:31
1/10
its certinaly is a good thing there own system isnt implimented, as we could see heavy forces placed down on content and it could of been an end to gaming as we knwo it, but i think its refreshing that they have highlighted both sides of concern and this could reduce the panic over violent games.
Joji 23 Apr 2008 14:42
2/10
Their concerns I'm tired of hearing. But beyond making citizens arrest of such parents and calling in The Spanish Inquisition, I think the games industry is already doing enough to address this ratings awareness.

Truth of the matter is most parents don't care about the ratings enough, to check and police their rugrats. Politicians obviously don't want to ever accuse parents though, as they need parents votes and money. Typical. Beyond tv, cinema and internet ads, I really don't see what else can be done.

Problem is if these monkey had their way, all mature games would be banned, in the name of the children, undermining the industry and setting us back to what their idea of games is, Mario, Pong and Pac Man. Games are so much more than that, and its unfortunate the ignorance of legion, cloud the true perspective of the issue and games.
more comments below our sponsor's message
PreciousRoi 24 Apr 2008 11:20
3/10
w0rd.

Its so much easier just to ban all mature games than it is for parents to actually say "no" to little Johnny. I'm sick and tired of hearing about what parents need, or what children are being exposed to...the tools and information are out there...spend half as much effort on utilizing them or heeding it as they do on righteous indignation and they'd have no cause to complain. Go watch the original Charlie and the Chocolate Factory until it sinks in...

PARENTS. YOU ARE ULTIMATELY RESPONSIBLE FOR WHAT GETS INTO YOUR CHILDRENS HEAD. IF YOU DO NOT HAVE THE COURAGE OF YOUR CONVICTIONS THEN PERHAPS YOU ARE NOT FIT TO BE RAISING A CHILD.

Frankly I'd be more worried about Bratz dolls and Paris Hilton than violent video games. Boys will be boys, but teaching little girls to dress and act like tramps...I find repugnant.
deleted 24 Apr 2008 13:56
4/10
While i agree for the most part Roi being a parent i have to shwo slightly differnt opinion on some points,

Firstly you are right it is ultimatley the responsibility of the parent to monitor what a child is exposed too, but there are times when that is out of the hands of the parents no matter how hard a parent tries a child will get some exposure to the Media and the media being what it is, they will at least see or hear,

Nudity, Sex, Violence, Swearing or Bad Behaviour, i Think your right in stating that there are the tools and information out there to inform and protect children by becoming an informed parent but some responsibility does lie at the hands of

1. The Government
2. The Creaters (Movies Producers, Music Labels, Games Developers)
3. The Suppliers (Stores, Pulishers, Studios)
3. The Media (TV, News, The Internet!)

1.The Government

They firstly are here to protect what we are exposed too, now i disagree 99% of the time what they say but if we didnt have these rules then who would govern what is avaliable to view and when, ie: what would stop us seeing actual Deaths/Murders being Commited and Hardcore porn during daytime TV? SO although Uturn Brown wont be playing halo and defending the Gaming Minority i still agree that some level of censorship should exsist but in a state where only that censorship is not banned but regulated

2. The Creators

Here creativty should be allowed to flow but creativity doesnt mean we have to see unwanten violence and sex, but it doesnt mean it should be banned, from the start creators should make very clear to who ever needs to know what kind of content will be included and also take part in at least recommending what should be reviewed and look upon before any authority makes decisions, also advertising should be used accordingly and correctly (GTA ads comes to mind these were fine but this was down to point 4 the media (faux news))

3. Stores

This is simple, anything that has been rating should be should according to those laws responsbility shoudl be placed on whoever does follow those rules, and it would hurt for a sale rep to just advise something that isnt sutible for children.

4. The Media - this is where the problems really begin, the Media needs to educate its self and not try to educate the country on false information and factless sensationalism, to many people belive what the read and hear and see its easier to believe murdochs stories of bollox than actualy research themselfs, tighter measures should be placed on the news outlets and they should be made responsible for misinformation.

its so hard for me to try and justify gaming and parental concern at the same time, i do my upmost and 90% of parents also do, but tyes the small amount of parents who dont are the ones to point fingers first, either for easy suing money or just for media attention.

But while those parents and news outlets attack us, i think gamers find it all too easy to attack them also, i have said this so many times before but as gamers maybe if we are bigger and step back and look at the situation and try to understand why some legit parents are concerned we might see taht there not attacking us because they want too but because they just want to understand.

I ask one question, if manhunt 2 was released and it got into the hands of a child that child then acted out a scene on a fellow child and caused death, forgetting who is responsible for the game getting in to the childs hands, but banning the game could of stopped this from happening would it be worth the ban?

ban a game save a childs life but take away our freedom and rights?

let the child die but maintain our rights?

which do you choose?



please dont flame me people i swear i am a gamer through and through i love and protect my kids and im stuck in the middle with this issue sometimes!

edit: sorry i forgot to mention this important point, its not just a responsibility to stop a child seeing bad things but to let the child understand what they have seen this is more importannt than just stopping them seeing things.






PreciousRoi 24 Apr 2008 15:42
5/10
haritori wrote:

1.The Government

They firstly are here to protect what we are exposed too, now i disagree 99% of the time what they say but if we didnt have these rules then who would govern what is avaliable to view and when, ie: what would stop us seeing actual Deaths/Murders being Commited and Hardcore porn during daytime TV? SO although Uturn Brown wont be playing halo and defending the Gaming Minority i still agree that some level of censorship should exsist but in a state where only that censorship is not banned but regulated

Uhm, NO. NO. NO. a thousand times NO.

At least not hereabouts...the Nanny State doesn't fly in these parts...its antithetical to the First Amendment...the Govenrment's primary responsibility is not that of Censor. Government censorship might be a neccessary evil...IT IS NEVER, EEEVER A DESIREABLE FUNCTION.

haritori wrote:

2. The Creators

Here creativty should be allowed to flow but creativity doesnt mean we have to see unwanten violence and sex, but it doesnt mean it should be banned, from the start creators should make very clear to who ever needs to know what kind of content will be included and also take part in at least recommending what should be reviewed and look upon before any authority makes decisions, also advertising should be used accordingly and correctly (GTA ads comes to mind these were fine but this was down to point 4 the media (faux news))

You don't have to see anything, you as an adult have a choice about what you are exposed to...and aren't they already doing that?
haritori wrote:

3. Stores

This is simple, anything that has been rating should be should according to those laws responsbility shoudl be placed on whoever does follow those rules, and it would hurt for a sale rep to just advise something that isnt sutible for children.


Yes, no argument here, don't sell the naughty bits to the kiddies.

haritori wrote:

4. The Media - this is where the problems really begin, the Media needs to educate its self and not try to educate the country on false information and factless sensationalism, to many people belive what the read and hear and see its easier to believe murdochs stories of bollox than actualy research themselfs, tighter measures should be placed on the news outlets and they should be made responsible for misinformation.

I agree that they should be held accountble for potentially damaging misinformation.
haritori wrote:

its so hard for me to try and justify gaming and parental concern at the same time, i do my upmost and 90% of parents also do, but tyes the small amount of parents who dont are the ones to point fingers first, either for easy suing money or just for media attention.

But while those parents and news outlets attack us, i think gamers find it all too easy to attack them also, i have said this so many times before but as gamers maybe if we are bigger and step back and look at the situation and try to understand why some legit parents are concerned we might see taht there not attacking us because they want too but because they just want to understand.

I ask one question, if manhunt 2 was released and it got into the hands of a child that child then acted out a scene on a fellow child and caused death, forgetting who is responsible for the game getting in to the childs hands, but banning the game could of stopped this from happening would it be worth the ban?

ban a game save a childs life but take away our freedom and rights?

let the child die but maintain our rights?

which do you choose?

NO. And forgetting who is responsible for getting the game into the child's hands? Why would you want to...all that does is free the person actually responsible for this to shift the blame elsewhere than where it belongs.
Its a hypothetical, and a misleading one...extend that argument to every media and you'd have to ban everything...plus if the kid is dumb enough to pull some s**t like that he'll pull some s**t like that under other influences than video games. Is it the really even the games fault? I've yet to see a convincing case where you could unequivocally say that a game has caused harm to come to a child, therefore I completely oppose abridging my rights in favor of some maybe, could be, but probably isn't...

Should we ban roller coasters? I KNOW for a FACT that children have died because of them...and they wouldn't have died on the Ferris Wheel...can't say the same about video games.


haritori wrote:

please dont flame me people i swear i am a gamer through and through i love and protect my kids and im stuck in the middle with this issue sometimes!

edit: sorry i forgot to mention this important point, its not just a responsibility to stop a child seeing bad things but to let the child understand what they have seen this is more importannt than just stopping them seeing things.

You aren't though, you just choose to be by buying into the scare tactics that the anti-gaming people use. You have the power and responsibility to protect your children. full stop. Its not anyone else's responsibility, its yours. If little Johnny's mom bought him GTA and you don't want your kid to be exposed to it, its your responsibility to find this out and take whatever steps are neccessary, even if it means being "uncool" and having to listen to your kids whine.

My rights are not subject to your convienience, which is what I feel this boils down to.

My rights vs. their desire not to have to say "no."

Everything else is just fearmongering, which apparently you're buying into.
PreciousRoi 24 Apr 2008 15:58
6/10
Think about this:

There are clear and present dangers to your children. Videogames are not one of them. Every second you spend on this irrelevancy is a second you are abdicating your responsibility to protect your children from the real dangers they face. Do not let the fearmongers do this to you...

Here's a hypothetical for you:

A child is killed by a drunken driver who could have been kept off the streets, but the Member of Parliament thought it was more important to rant about violent videogames.

Do you let the child die or blather on, Mr. Vaz?

You also appear to be buying into the theory that videogames should be treated differently from other media, I refute that as well.
deleted 24 Apr 2008 16:52
7/10
ive said too much already ill go hide under a rock and wait for the onslought, but i wont be made to feel im falling for the scaremongering when its pure and simple love and protection for my children that makes me actually not care about other peoples rights when it could affect my kids, and unless you have kids i dont think anyone would understand that but if you do have kids i think you would.

it could = theres no proof yet games dont cause a reaction!
PreciousRoi 24 Apr 2008 18:52
8/10
I don't give a tinker's damn if you feel you are falling for it or not. I say you are. Having children doen't give your irrational fears for their safety priority over my rights. Love and protection my ass, its fear.

But you fail to address my concern. Yes, there are real dangers out there...concern yourself with them, if you truly have your childrens saftey at heart, no need to look for imaginary boogeymen. Hell, even if videogames are the culprits (and they aren't), what you, as a parent, need to look out for remains the same. Poorly supervised children. If they're too young or ignorant to understand the difference between right and wrong, they're too young or ignorant to be unsupervised. And you also fail to provide any reason why videogames should be singled out for special attention over other media, whose content is far more accessible and worse for children IMNSHO. Hell it ain't even my opionion, its verifiable fact...theres more kids out there got hurt, maimed or killed imitating professional wrestling for instance...or playing sports for chrissakes.

You merely fall back on "oh if you had kids you'd understand."

BULLshit. Just because you have independently ambulatory genetic material floating around doen't give you any more insight or wisdom into anything except perhaps irrationality. And it damn sure doesn't give you the right to trespass upon my rights for no other reason that your unfounded fear.

As for your previous question, rephrased...Would I have Manhunt 2 (or any game) banned on the chance that someone might replicate the action in game and harm a child...good luck kid, stay away from strangers, because I'm releasing Manhunt 2 into the wild. I hope you parents keep a good watch on ya.
deleted 24 Apr 2008 19:15
9/10
PreciousRoi wrote:
I don't give a tinker's damn if you feel you are falling for it or not. I say you are. Having children doen't give your irrational fears for their safety priority over my rights. Love and protection my ass, its [i]fear[/i].
.

And i say im not, its not irrational fear im trying to show you that theres more to this than just the rights of damn gamers, and ok i fear it i fear i cant protect them, you are saying your rights are above and beyond the safety of children but you have not 1 shred of eveidence to proove anythign against or for games no one does, so parents have a right to fear if you like what isnt known! its basic human instinct.


PreciousRoi wrote:
But you fail to address my concern. Yes, there are real dangers out there...concern yourself with them, if you truly have your childrens saftey at heart, no need to look for imaginary boogeymen. Hell, even if videogames are the culprits (and they aren't), what you, as a parent, need to look out for remains the same. Poorly supervised children. If they're too young or ignorant to understand the difference between right and wrong, they're too young or ignorant to be unsupervised. And you also fail to provide any reason why videogames should be singled out for special attention over other media, whose content is far more accessible and worse for children IMNSHO.


OK maybe i wasnt clear but i am talking about all media in general, games though because thats whats in the public eye at present, what i find very funny though is that you sir, (who i belive doesnt have children unless im wrong) are able to tell parents how they shoudl be bringing up their children yet your opinion only counts for your FEAR of losing out on your right to play whatever you should see fit, , there are many a adult whos sense of right and wrong can clearly be seen to be more askew than childrens and this is common place, just because someone is of age it doesnt show that they are stable and capable of controlling themslefs and there lifes these people have no restrictions on what they may see or do.

PreciousRoi wrote:
You merely fall back on "oh if you had kids you'd understand."

BULLshit. Just because you have independently ambulatory genetic material floating around doen't give you any more insight or wisdom into anything except perhaps irrationality. And it damn sure doesn't give you the right to trespass upon my rights for no other reason that your unfounded fear.


What it does give me is more wisdom into how a child may access this content and how its not always the parents fault, unless i am to ban my child from ever leaving the house, watching TV, going to freinds, going to school, infact unless i keep my child prisoner in his/her bedroom with no visual or audio stimulation then by your theory it makes me responsible for what my child sees and hears. if you want to call it fear you can, but by god having a child changes your view on everything, because my concern is no longer ME! its no longer what i want and how i want it, its how can i make things easier, better, more fun, safer, more educational for my child and that sir is why unless you have children you would not understand, because until you do you will be selfish once you do have children your wants and needs change and those basic rights we have right now dont mean nothing its what rights do our children have tahts important.

now just because i have an opinion i agree doesnt make me right but what it does mean is that i can express that to protect my children because (as you put it) FEAR the unknown. just like every other parent out there right now who loves cares and whast to protect there children, Roi you are a minority and i feel for you, but if i had to give up gaming tommorrow for ever to make the world a safer place i would. but tommorrow might prove games are just healthy and good for you and in that cause drinks are on me!
PreciousRoi 25 Apr 2008 04:10
10/10
PreciousRoi wrote:
I don't give a tinker's damn if you feel you are falling for it or not. I say you are. Having children doen't give your irrational fears for their safety priority over my rights. Love and protection my ass, its [i]fear[/i].
.

haritori wrote:
And i say im not, its not irrational fear im trying to show you that theres more to this than just the rights of damn gamers, and ok i fear it i fear i cant protect them, you are saying your rights are above and beyond the safety of children but you have not 1 shred of eveidence to proove anythign against or for games no one does, so parents have a right to fear if you like what isnt known! its basic human instinct.

You only PROVE my point. Instinct, by definition is beyond rationality, even when it resembles rationality. And there are principles at stake that are far beyond "gamer's rights" or indeed videogames. By your own admission there is no empirical data to back up this theory that games are somehow specially harmful to children, in relation to other media. I'm sorry dude, from whre I sit you look like a victim of the Big Lie. And lets be clear here, I'm not advocating hentai being availible and on display at Toys R Us, I am saying that the current status quo is, if anything, overly repressive of games in relation to other media. Truly mature games are so far out of the mainstream as to be negligible outside of Japan, partly due to market forces which have nothing to do with government. We don't have bans here in the US, we just rate a game AO and no one will sell it, or allow it on their platform.

PreciousRoi wrote:
But you fail to address my concern. Yes, there are real dangers out there...concern yourself with them, if you truly have your childrens saftey at heart, no need to look for imaginary boogeymen. Hell, even if videogames are the culprits (and they aren't), what you, as a parent, need to look out for remains the same. Poorly supervised children. If they're too young or ignorant to understand the difference between right and wrong, they're too young or ignorant to be unsupervised. And you also fail to provide any reason why videogames should be singled out for special attention over other media, whose content is far more accessible and worse for children IMNSHO.


haritori wrote:
OK maybe i wasnt clear but i am talking about all media in general, games though because thats whats in the public eye at present, what i find very funny though is that you sir, (who i belive doesnt have children unless im wrong) are able to tell parents how they shoudl be bringing up their children yet your opinion only counts for your FEAR of losing out on your right to play whatever you should see fit, , there are many a adult whos sense of right and wrong can clearly be seen to be more askew than childrens and this is common place, just because someone is of age it doesnt show that they are stable and capable of controlling themslefs and there lifes these people have no restrictions on what they may see or do.

You indict youself as a victim of propaganda, sir. "Videogames because thats what they told me to worry about this week." Just because their arguments make sense and cater you your parental instincts doesn't mean they aren't utter ballocks, and just because they said it on the TV doesn't make it so. And its not my fear of not being able to play anything, its my fear of having basic human rights eroded for no reason. Videogames are the newest of the storytelling media, and the most censored. Subjects which are, if not proper, allowable in print, non-broadcast TV (Broadcast TV being Public righly being censored by Government), and motion pictures, are taboo in videogames. As for adults...you aren't seriously advocating videogame censorship to protect adults from themselves? Adult human beings are responsible for their own behavior, within reason, psychopaths and antisocials don't need videogames to inspire them to violence.

PreciousRoi wrote:
You merely fall back on "oh if you had kids you'd understand."

BULLshit. Just because you have independently ambulatory genetic material floating around doen't give you any more insight or wisdom into anything except perhaps irrationality. And it damn sure doesn't give you the right to trespass upon my rights for no other reason that your unfounded fear.


haritori wrote:
What it does give me is more wisdom into how a child may access this content and how its not always the parents fault, unless i am to ban my child from ever leaving the house, watching TV, going to freinds, going to school, infact unless i keep my child prisoner in his/her bedroom with no visual or audio stimulation then by your theory it makes me responsible for what my child sees and hears. if you want to call it fear you can, but by god having a child changes your view on everything, because my concern is no longer ME! its no longer what i want and how i want it, its how can i make things easier, better, more fun, safer, more educational for my child and that sir is why unless you have children you would not understand, because until you do you will be selfish once you do have children your wants and needs change and those basic rights we have right now dont mean nothing its what rights do our children have tahts important.

now just because i have an opinion i agree doesnt make me right but what it does mean is that i can express that to protect my children because (as you put it) FEAR the unknown. just like every other parent out there right now who loves cares and whast to protect there children, Roi you are a minority and i feel for you, but if i had to give up gaming tommorrow for ever to make the world a safer place i would. but tommorrow might prove games are just healthy and good for you and in that cause drinks are on me!

No it actually doen't give you any wisdom into seeing anything. You think it does, but it doesn't really. I don't need children to give me knowedge about how they might be exposed to various undesireable stimuli. I thouroghly reject your persistent insinuation that your assumption that I have no offspring invalidates IN ANY WAY my opinion on the subject. You are responsible for what your child see and hears. If you have any illusions otherwise I feel sorry for you and your children...illusions such as those are far more dangerous than any videogame. When your child is over at a friend's house, for example, you have not abdicated your responsibility, you have placed it in trust, partly in you child, partly in you child's friend, and partly or mostly (dependant upon your child's age) in the friend's guardians.

Let's be perfectly honest here, you say having a child changes your veiw, that its no longer just all about you...but what you're really saying is not that YOU must subvert your rights and priorities... it is instead that you expect that I must subvert my own rights and priorities to YOUR child's welfare.

And once again, lets be clear on our positions. I find the status quo to be slightly repressive, but acceptable, (Australia being quite repressive) I object to more repression and the theories which are being agitated for and promulgated by fringe minority elements and whose rationale is supported by gullible, easily suggestible sorts using fuzzy Helen Lovejoy logic. I believe instead in the more vigourous enforcement of existing regulatory and ratings regimes and personal responsibilty. Mature rated games shouldn't be sold to children and parents should have ratings information easily availible. Morality cannot and must not be legislated. Artistic expression shall not be infringed.
Posting of new comments is now locked for this page.