The government has announced a toughening up on video games laws, with retailers potentially facing prison sentences for selling to children.
A revamped classification system has been announced which will see all games regulated by the Europe-wide PEGI scheme.
This will mean that the British Board of Film Classification will no longer have input on age rating classifications, with the video game specific PEGI making the decisions. The certification will be enforced by the Video Standards Council (VSC) in the UK.
The main change will be that a new ‘12’ rating will be put in place, and if retailers don’t abide by the rules then they could face being thrown behind bars.
Retailers will have until July to train up staff to deal with new changes, or face serious jail time as well as potentially unlimited fines for supplying games without an age rating.
According to Culture minister Ed Vaizey the new system will “benefit both parents and industry by creating a stronger, simpler age-rating system”.
“It 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,” he said in a statement.
The move by the government to more rigidly enforce gaming classification comes as video game content is under increased attack from politicians.
Conservative MP Keith Vaz continued his campaign to increase censorship in video games by appealing directly to PEGI to do more to restrict content.
Vaz has spearheaded calls to clampdown on violent content, tabling a number of early day motions in parliament to tighten regulation, with a particular vendetta against the Call of Duty series.