Video Standards Council

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The VSC was established in 1989[1] and fulfils two basic roles:

It is a standards body for the video and video games industries and has a Code of Practice designed to ensure that both industries show a duty of care in their dealings with customers and the public generally. It provides its retailer members with a staff training course dealing with age restricted videos, DVDs and video games.

It acts as an administrator of the PEGI system of age rating for video games. PEGI is used in over 30 countries. It is the UK regulator responsible for the age rating of video games supplied in the UK (using the PEGI system). In fulfilling this role it uses the name Games Rating Authority (GRA).[2][3]

Origins Of The VSC

The VSC was established in 1989 at the request of the then Home Secretary as a body set up to develop and oversee a Code of Practice designed to promote high standards within the video and DVD industry. The Code was subsequently expanded to promote high standards within the video games industry. The Code requires compliance with both the letter and spirit of the law.

Videos, DVDs and video games bring entertainment, pleasure and enjoyment to many millions of people but they are also a very powerful means of communication. The industries concerned owe a duty of care to their customers and the public generally and in particular a duty of care to protect children and young persons from potentially unsuitable material. The VSC will continue to do its utmost to ensure that this duty is discharged.

Throughout its history the VSC has held itself accountable to Government (initially the Home Office and in more recent years the Department of Culture, Media and Sport).

The VSC has established Staff Training Guidelines for retailers and others responsible for supplying videos, DVDs and video games to the public. The Guidelines have been approved by the trading standards authorities and place an emphasis on responsible trading and in particular the duty not to supply age-restricted products to persons below the specified ages. The VSC will continue to develop and enhance the Guidelines to meet changing circumstances and technological developments.

Since 1994 the VSC has been responsible for the age rating of video games. Initially this responsibility extended to the UK only when, on behalf of the UK Interactive Entertainment Association (formerly ELSPA), it administered the ELSPA system of age rating. In 2001/2 it took part in wide ranging discussions leading to the establishment of the Pan-European Game Information (PEGI) system of age rating for video games. The PEGI system superseded the ELSPA system and since 2003 the VSC has been an administrator of the PEGI system which now covers the UK and over 30 other countries of Europe and beyond. The VSC has more experience in the age rating of games than any other body in Europe.

The VSC took part in extensive discussions leading to the establishment of PEGI Online in July 2007. PEGI Online represents a unique system of control for online sites making video games available to the public. This is of particular importance as an ever increasing percentage of video games are supplied to the public (by way of download and otherwise) from such sites. The VSC acts as an administrator of the PEGI Online system.

In 2012 the VSC was appointed by UK Government to act as the designated body responsible for the age rating of video games supplied in the UK[4] and in July 2013 it published its first annual report in that capacity.[5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Origins of the VSC". The Video Standards Council. Retrieved 2 February 2014. 
  2. ^ "Welcome to the Games Rating Authority". The Video Standards Council. Retrieved 2 February 2014. 
  3. ^ "Isn't the GRA a new company?". Games Rating Authority. Retrieved 2 February 2014. 
  4. ^ "Video Standards Council to take over games age ratings". BBC News. 10 May 2012. Retrieved 2 February 2014. 
  5. ^ "Video Standards Council Releases Annual Report on UK Video Games Ratings". Game Politics. 23 July 2013. Retrieved 2 February 2014.