The Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE), of the European Parliament met this week to discuss a report prepared by Toine Manders, a Dutch politician who sits on the European Parliament’s Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection. The report highlights the issues of consumer protection, with particular reference to minors, when playing video games as well as for the European Parliament to endorse the single age rating system currently in operation (the Pan European Game Information, or PEGI).
Mander’s draft report acknowledges that video games are predominantly non-violent and as well as a winning form of entertainment they can also be used well for valuable educational purposes. He highlights a need for parents to be further educated on video games and the need for an effective age-verification system to be put into place - one paying particular attention to online games.
During the meeting, the European Parliament adopted a call on member states to use and promote the PEGI system and the PEGI Online system.
The report claimed that recent developments in the video games market have seen a discernible trend toward full games, game packs and downloadable content (DLC) for most new titles. Manders detailed the need for effective age-verification systems for games and the importance of adequate control measures for online purchases of video games.
He believes the PEGI system provides an elegant solution to the questions raised by the evolving global games industry. He and his EP peers believe the games industry should be encouraged to develop an effective form of self-regulation.
Michael Rawlinson of ELSPA (the Entertainment & Leisure Software Publishers Association) said: “Toine Manders has taken a very close look at the needs of a rating system for games that works well across the EU and concluded that PEGI is the right way forward both on- and off-line. It is a ringing endorsement of the rating system that we in the UK were instrumental in helping to set up several years ago. The protection of children is of paramount important to this industry and we are delighted that a body as significant at the EU’s Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs committee fully comprehends the merits of PEGI.”