Following recommendations in the Digital Britain report back in June 2009 (see here), Creative Industries Minister Ed Vaizey finally laid proposals before Parliament for a new video-game age rating regime to become law. Under the new regime, games will be rated under the Pan European Game Information ("PEGI") system, which requires all games to be given an age-rating and displayed on the packaging, as well as additional information on the reasons for any ratings e.g. violence, bad language. Games will be rated under the PEGI system by the Video Standards Council ("VSC"), and anybody found selling a non-exempt video game to someone who does not meet the age classification faces up to six months in prison and a fine of up to £5,000. The new system significantly reduces the role played by the British Board of Film Classification, who will now only rate a game if it contains explicit sexual content that warrants a R18 rating.
The new regulations, called the Video Recordings (Labelling) Regulations 2012 are expected to come into force in July 2012. Importantly, however, the new ratings will not apply to online games, to which the PEGI Online voluntary regime will still apply (see here).
See DCMS Press Release.