Helping parents make informed decisions

PEGI (Pan-European Game Information) was founded in 2003 by Video Games Europe as a self-regulatory age rating system for video games. The system is part of the industry’s commitment to protect minors and to build trust with consumers by ensuring that reliable information about video game content is provided in a responsible manner. All the major game platforms use the PEGI ratings as part of their parental control tool systems.

PEGI ratings considers the age suitability of a game’s content, not the level of difficulty. The classification system comprises 5 age categories and 8 content descriptors. For more details, click here.

In 2023, PEGI celebrated 20 years. It is used and recognised throughout Europe – PEGI rated products are distributed in 40 countries across Europe – and it has the enthusiastic support of the European Commission. It is considered as a model of European harmonisation in the field of minor protection and consumer transparency. In the course of 20 years, PEGI has classified 40,000 video games, counting more than 2600 companies as signatories, including all the major publishers. Research shows that 67% of parents and 73% of players in key European markets are aware of PEGI age labels.

PEGI Code of Conduct

PEGI was designed to ensure maximum robustness for making recommendations to European consumers, especially parents, about the suitability of video game content. Each publisher that joins PEGI has to sign a Code of Conduct by which it is committed to provide parents with objective, intelligible and reliable information regarding the suitability of a game’s content. By signing the Code the publisher also aims to secure consistency in the advertising of a product, and to refrain from putting products on the market likely to be in breach of human decency.

In 2007 PEGI Online was launched, an EU-funded project which developed new standards for online games. This led to an update of the PEGI Code to take into account the online environment and added the obligation to keep websites free of illegal and offensive user-created content, provide user-friendly reporting mechanisms and maintain an effective protection of privacy.  You can read more about the online safety code here.

In 2023, PEGI updated its Code of Conduct to include In-game Monetisation and a minor update to PEGI Online System, which combines a set of provisions to ensure safe online gameplay for minors. The updated Code of Conduct will come into effect on 19 April 2024 (after a 6 month grace period). At this time, the elements that PEGI will actively monitor include:

  • the In-Game Purchases descriptor as well as the Paid Random items notice for loot boxes which must be displayed at the point of purchase (Article 8.2)
  • if the game has paid random items, it must inform players about the probabilities to obtain items (Article 8.3)
  • the game must have a policy that explicitly prohibits the unlawful trading of in-game items (Article 8.4)

As well, PEGI will verify that:

  • terms of service with players must prohibit the introduction of content that is illegal and/or harmful (Article 9.2)
  • the online gameplay environment must have a mechanism for players to notify about such illegal and/or harmful content, and this content should be removed as quickly as possible (Article 9.3)
  • company must have an effective privacy policy in place (Article 9.7)

The updated full Code of Conduct is here.

Always adapting to an evolving market

The video game industry is constantly evolving and PEGI’s objective and mission is to accompany the industry in its evolution. PEGI is continuously evaluating its rating system and the underlying criteria, while also working on new solutions to address the concerns of the general public and parents in particular. In 2007 PEGI was expanded to cover the online environment to help parents understand the risks and potential for harm within this environment. Learn more here. Innovations like virtual reality, new monetisation techniques and features like social interaction are constantly monitored and assessed, which is what led to the 2023 update. An international group of independent experts assists PEGI in keeping the rating criteria relevant and up-to-date.

The PEGI App was launched in 2019, making it possible to check the ratings and content of PEGI-rated games on a smartphone. It allows users to search through the PEGI database for up-to-date video game and app rating classifications. Results can be filtered by age rating, genre and platform to find the right game and get detailed instructions on how to set up parental controls on a range of devices. The app is available in 9 languages: English, French, Polish, Dutch, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, German and Swedish.  Download the App here: Google Play; Apple Store.

What about the rest of the world ?

In 2013, PEGI co-founded the International Age Rating Coalition (IARC), a global cooperation of age rating boards to provide the fast-moving mobile and digital markets with a scalable solution to implement familiar age rating systems. PEGI ratings are also used in Google Play for all Android devices and in other digital storefronts like the Microsoft Store, the PlayStation Store, the Nintendo eShop and the Oculus store.