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What is the VSC?

The Video Standards Council (VSC) was originally established as a standards body in 1989 in response to Government concerns about the video industry.

We were set up to develop and oversee a Code of Practice designed to promote high standards within the video industry and to ensure that pre-recorded videos and DVDs were provided to the public in a responsible manner.

In 1993 we extended the Code to promote high standards within the video games industry.

Since 2003 we have administered PEGI, a pan-European age rating system designed for video games and are responsible for applying the PEGI system to video games sold in the UK.

In July 2012, the VSC was appointed as the designated authority for the rating of video games in the UK. The ratings arm of the VSC is called the Games Rating Authority (GRA).

Protecting children

The PEGI system rates video games at various age levels (3, 7, 12, 16 and 18) and is designed to protect children and young teenagers from inappropriate content.

The criteria used for age rating are approved by independent experts and deal with topics like violence, drugs, sexual content, bad language and criminal behaviour.

The rating on a game confirms that it is suitable for players over a certain age.

Age ratings

So, for example, a PEGI 12 game is only suitable for those aged twelve and above and a PEGI 18 game is only suitable for adults aged 18 and over.

Pictorial descriptors shown on the back of the packaging indicate the main reasons why a game has received a particular age rating.

There are nine possible descriptors: violence, bad language, fear, drugs, sexual, nudity, discrimination, gambling and online gameplay with other people.

The PEGI system is used in the UK and over 30 other countries.

Although concerns across all PEGI countries are remarkably similar, the system does take any particular UK sensitivities into account.

If there is a particular sensitivity in the UK or any other single PEGI country then it is accepted in all other participating countries.

By law, stores and shops cannot sell or hire games rated PEGI 12, 16 and 18 to persons below the age-restriction shown on the packaging. The PEGI 3 and 7 ratings remain advisory only.

Making a complaint

If you want to make a complaint about a video game, you can submit it through ParentPort’s complaints section.

 Click here to Make a Complaint

If you don’t have a specific complaint but would like to submit other comments or feedback about video games, you can contact us through ParentPort’s Have Your Say section