p>VSC Rating Board PRESS RELEASE
7th December 2017
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The VSC Rating Board uses the PEGI rating system to rate all video games which are released in mainland Europe and the UK – that is games which are likely to attain a PEGI 12, 16 or 18. In Europe, the PEGI ratings are advisory only whereas in the UK, PEGI 12, 16 and 18 ratings are legally mandated via the instructions laid down in the Video Recordings Act (VRA) (1984.) In the UK therefore, PEGI 12, 16 and 18 rated video games cannot be sold or hired to persons below those respective age bars – retailers who do so may face stiff financial penalties or even imprisonment.
The VRA and other legislation under which we operate also permits us to refuse certification of a video game – even at the adult level – if we believe that releasing such a game to consumers is likely to result in a significant harm being caused to the user.
Each and every game submitted to us is vigorously vetted. It should be stressed that prior to submission of a game for examination we will frequently discuss and give advice on the content of a game with the publisher concerned to establish what rating they are hoping to attain. Sometimes this will result in the publisher having to remove scenes or elements which are inappropriate for the desired rating. If anything would likely lead to a refusal of a certificate then we would bring this to the attention of the publisher before the formal classification of the game.
Each game is examined and analysed in detail over many days and our examiners will always alert senior management to any potentially contentious issues which may present themselves. If necessary, we will then seek additional advice from our panel of senior experts in the fields of law and psychology to determine whether the game should be certificated or not.
In respect of the VSC Rating Board never having actually ‘banned’ a game, it should be noted that the bar for banning a video game is deliberately set high to ensure that entertainment media, including films and dvd, are not simply banned on grounds of disgust or offence. Indeed, since video games were first subject to formal rating requirements in the UK, only two games have ever been banned; “Carmaggedon” (released in 1997) and “Manhunt 2” (released in 2007.) Both of these bans were subsequently overturned on appeal.
As far as “Detroit: Become Human” is concerned, this game has not yet been submitted to us for a rating and we cannot, therefore, comment on whether it will attain a release certificate or otherwise. We are rightly obliged to be objective and non-partisan in the matter of rating video games and we will invariably come to a considered judgment ultimately.
The representation of domestic violence/child abuse themes in a video game is not something we would consider to be ‘forbidden’ unless, as has been previously mentioned, it is presented in such a way that we conclude it is likely to generate significant harm to the consumer and contravenes the legislation under which we operate. It is also worth mentioning that many cinema films and videos dealing with these themes have been released over many years without subsequent ill-effect upon the consumer.
For more press information or interviews contact:
Tel: 01334 845 248
Notes for Editors:
The Video Standards Council (VSC) was established in 1989 as a body set up to develop and oversee a Code of Practice designed to promote high standards within the video/DVD industry. The Code was subsequently expanded to promote high standards within the video games industry. The VSC has established staff training guidelines for retailers and others responsible for supplying videos, DVD and video games to the public to ensure that age-restricted media is not made available to under-age purchasers.
In 2012, the VSC was appointed as the statutory UK video games regulator using the Pan European Games Information (PEGI) system to rate video games accordingly.