One of the things that I loved most about living in Europe was how moving between countries and experiencing different food, scenery, and cultures was significantly easier than practically anywhere else. One thing I was not a fan of, however was the Content Rating System used for video games having a universal European rating.
This is a bit of an issue for me because PEGI (the video game rating board for Europe as a whole) works as a blanket ratings provider. This means that rather than taking into consideration what would be acceptable to a majority of the target market, they seem to focus on going with the highest possible rating per issue.
For example, the WWE games (the TV show itself is rated as PG under the media ratings board) are only allowed for kids 12 and older. Additionally, EA’s NHL Hockey games get the same rating as Battlefield, a first-person shooter. While this may not seem like much of an issue, this can be trouble for parents who don’t see an issue with a game, give their kids money to buy it, only to find out their kids have been denied.
What’s the harm in selling an NHL game to a 10 year old you ask? It should be nothing, especially if said child already watches the PG rated sport on TV with his folks. But due to the laws set for enforcing the PEGI, the establishment can face a fine. Seems rather unfair for selling a rather harmless videogame, doesn’t it?
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t think that videogames should be made freely available to all kids of any age; I do support the maturity ratings on video games, and I think parents and guardians should be very strict on their end implementing the restrictions to their kids. The problem lies in assuming that Europe, with all its varied histories, cultures, and values fall under a single rating. Is it fair to punish young gamers by denying them a game that MIGHT be offensive somewhere else in Europe? I think not.
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