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The Pan European Game Information system (PEGI) is the European equivalent of the Entertainment Software Rating Board.
The PEGI system was introduced on March 1, 2003, with the aim was of creating a standard age rating system for all European Union countries. Germany is currently not a part of PEGI. In the UK the PEGI system is legally binding, and the the BBFC system has occasionally been used as well. In Germany, the USK system is used. The Republic of Ireland may also use the IFCO system.
PEGI applies to products distributed in Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, India, the Republic of Ireland, Israel, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Norway, Pakistan, Poland, Portugal, Romania, the Russian Federation, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.
- The PEGI system was developed and based on existing systems in Europe. In the drafting of the PEGI assessment form and the shaping of the system organisation, society representatives such as consumers, parents and religious groups have been largely involved.
- PEGI has been designed to meet varying cultural standards and attitudes across the participating countries. Member States and is supported by the majority of relevant Member State Government Agencies and all interactive leisure software trade organisations in Europe.
- The PEGI system is a voluntary system in which the ratings are carried out by members of the game industry itself. This takes place by means of a self assessment form. After examining a game, the in-house coder uses an intranet to answer a number of questions, after which the rating of the game will be given automatically. For each content category an age is established, based on the answers on the assessment form.
- Ratings proposed by publishers are then checked by NICAM. All 16+ or 18+ ratings are checked before a rating is granted. All 12+ and samples of 3+ and 7+ ratings are checked after a rating has been granted. At the end of the process, products concerned are granted by NICAM, on behalf of ISFE, a license to use a specific logo and possibly descriptors as well.
Within the scope of PEGI there are two types of pictograms that are relevant:
- Age categories
- Content types
In addition to the game ratings by appropriate age, the PEGI system also includes symbols depicting the type of content in the game, called content descriptors.
Certain ratings are different for Portugal and were different for Finland until 2007. Instead of the 3 and 7 ratings in Portugal, they use 4 and 6. Under PEGI, the 3 and 7 ratings (and 4 and 6 is Portugal) are treated as advisory ratings, with no legal framework for their sale. However, the 12, 16 and 18 ratings are legally binding, and sale of games to those under the minimum age is a criminal offense, and subject to legal penalties.
Titles rated PEGI 3 are suitable for ages 3 and older. Not used in Portugal.
Titles rated PEGI 4 are suitable for ages 4 and older. Used in Portugal only.
Titles rated PEGI 6 are suitable for ages 6 and older. Used in Portugal only.
Titles rated PEGI 7 are suitable for ages 7 and older. Not used in Portugal.
Titles rated PEGI 12 have content that may be suitable for ages 12 and older.
Titles rated PEGI 16 have content that may be suitable for ages 16 and older.
Titles rated PEGI 18 have content that may be suitable for ages 18 and older.
Titles with the Parental Guidance Recommended rating have content that is particularly unsuitable for young children. It is used on digital video game stores where formal age rating systems are not employed.
Titles rated PEGI 3+ had content that would have been suitable for ages 3 and older. Not used in Portugal. Replaced in favour of 3.
Titles rated PEGI 4+ had content that would have been suitable for ages 4 and older. Used in Portugal only. Replaced in favour of 4.
Titles rated PEGI 6+ had content that would have been suitable for ages 6 and older. Used in Portugal only Replaced in favour of 6.
Titles rated PEGI 7+ had content that would have been suitable for ages 7 and older. Not used in Portugal. Replaced in favour of 7.
Titles rated PEGI 11+ had content that would have been suitable for ages 11 and older. Used in Finland until January 2007.
Titles rated PEGI 12+ had content that would have been suitable for ages 12 and older. Replaced in favour of 12.
Titles rated PEGI 15+ had content that would have been suitable for ages 15 and older. Used in Finland until January 2007.
Titles rated PEGI 16+ had content that would have been suitable for ages 16 and older. Replaced in favour of 15.
Titles rated PEGI 18+ had content that would have been suitable for ages 18 and older. Replaced in favour of 18.
Game contains vulgar or offensive language.
Game contains depictions of, or material which may encourage, discrimination.
Game refers to, depicts or glorifies the use of drugs.
Game may be frightening or scary for younger children.
Game depicts or glorifies gambling.
Game may contain microtransactions
Game has online play across the internet available.
Game depicts nudity, sexual behaviour or sexual references.
Game contains depictions of violence.