About PEGI age labels

Established in 2003 by ISFE, the PEGI (Pan-European Game Information) ratings provide parents with the information needed to determine if a video game’s content is suitable for their children.

When we think about the content children consume, such as movies and books, we think about things such as age-appropriateness. The same applies to video games, which is exactly why the PEGI rating system was developed.

More than 35,000 titles classified

Since its inception, PEGI has classified more than 35,000 video game titles and millions of apps developed by more than 2,600 video game studios, and today PEGI-rated products are marketed approximately 40 countries.

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How does the ratings guide work?

The PEGI system is based on five age categories and eight content descriptors in total. The age categories indicate whether a video game is appropriate for children from a certain age. These five age categories are 3, 7, 12, 16, and 18, and parental guidance is recommended.

It’s important to understand the PEGI ratings, as it can help you better navigate and understand video game content that is and is not appropriate for children.

PEGI age categories:

Content of games with a PEGI 3 rating is considered suitable for all age groups.

Game content with scenes or sounds that can possibly be frightening to younger children.

Video games that show violence of a slightly more graphic nature towards fantasy characters or non-realistic violence towards human-like characters would fall in this age category. Sexual innuendo or sexual posturing can be present, while any bad language in this category must be mild.

This rating is applied once the depiction of violence (or sexual activity) reaches a stage that looks the same as would be expected in real life. The use of bad language in games with a PEGI 16 rating can be more extreme, while the use of tobacco, alcohol or illegal drugs can also be present.

The adult classification is applied when the level of violence reaches a stage where it becomes a depiction of gross violence, apparently motiveless killing, or violence towards defenceless characters. The glamorisation of the use of illegal drugs and of the simulation of gambling, and explicit sexual activity should also fall into this age category.

PEGI content desciptors

While age ratings are a useful tool for determining whether a particular game is suitable for a child of a certain age, parents frequently want to know why that rating was awarded. Every child is different, and parents are in the best position to understand their children. For example, some children might be more easily scared than others. That's why, in addition to the age ratings, PEGI issues content descriptor 'icons'. These icons explain why the game was given a particular rating. There are content descriptors for violence, fear and horror, bad language, sex, drugs, gambling, discrimination and in-game purchase. These descriptors are displayed on the packaging for boxed games in stores, as well as on major online storefronts where games can be downloaded.

A message for parents

These labels are designed to make it easy and clear for parents to help make decisions on which games are appropriate for your children to play, and to help your children avoid any content that may be too graphic or mature.

It’s also important to talk to your children about their playing habits, and the games they enjoy, to ensure that they have safe, healthy and fun experiences with video games. Be sure to explore the resources below to learn more about the parental control tools available to parents, as well as ISFE’s #SeizeTheControls campaign, which offers tips and localised information on how to manage responsible gameplay for your children.

Behind the scenes

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PEGI ratings are determined by two independent organisations: NICAM (PEGI 3 and 7) and the VSC Rating Board (PEGI 12, 16 and 18) examine the game content by playing the games in order to confirm the final age rating.

Interested in learning more about how PEGI determines age and content ratings? Check out PEGI’s website to get the full details on the robust and thorough rating process.