By Daniel Hunter

Businesses and local and central government are keen to work together, through the Primary Authority scheme, to ensure new rules governing the sale of age restricted video games are effective in protecting children.

The Government has recognised the need to protect children from inappropriate content and has been working with industry representatives ahead of new requirements from 30 July when the age rating of games aimed at those aged 12 or over will become mandatory.

In future producers will submit all of their video games for Pan European Game Information (PEGI) age classifications from the Video Standards Council which is designated as the new games rating authority.

Retailers are working with local and national regulators to ensure everyone understands the new requirements for video games and that staff are fully trained.

Business Minister Mark Prisk said:

“It’s good to see that regulators are committed to working with retailers to ensure that this new requirement is introduced in ways that work for everyone. The Primary Authority scheme, with its single point of contact for assured advice on regulation, will help to deliver this change in a way that minimises the burden to business.”

British Retail Consortium’s Director of Business and Regulation,Tom Ironside, said:

“As sellers of video games our members recognise their responsibility. Many of our members have Primary Authority partnerships with local authorities and will be looking to them for immediate guidance on how to introduce new procedures and training effectively across their stores in the months ahead.

“We welcome the commitment of the Better Regulation Delivery Office to work urgently with Primary Authorities to provide suitable guidance to businesses to cover the initial period of implementation.”

Trading Standards Institute Chief executive Ron Gainsford added:

“Trading Standards Officers across the country will want to work with responsible retailers to provide assistance and support to ensure that inappropriate games are not sold to under 12s.”

Director General of the Entertainment Retailers Association, Kim Bayley, said:

“Entertainment retailers are well used to administering ratings schemes, having worked for many years with the Video Standards Council on age rated video and games products. We are delighted that the new PEGI games ratings regime will come into effect on July 30.

"Retailers have worked hard with their suppliers to ensure a successful introduction of the new system, which we believe will provide greater clarity for consumers and in particular reassurance to parents that the
games their children play are appropriate to their age.”

PEGI classifications and labels will be mandatory for products unsuitable for children under 12 and it will be a requirement to ensure PEGI 12, 16 and 18-rated products are only sold to those of the appropriate age.

The video games industry is launching a campaign aimed at parents highlighting the importance of the PEGI age ratings.

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