Thursday

23rd Nov 2017

Brussels wants better warnings on violent video games

  • One third of the world market for video games is European (Photo: Magnus Fröderberg/norden.org)

The European Commission on Tuesday (22 April) said all EU countries should use the same age-rating system when it comes to video games and make that system known to citizens.

It also called for an EU-wide code of conduct on the sale of video games to minors to be introduced within two years.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

Video games are "a very important industry for Europe," but also one "that impacts on society," Viviane Reding, EU commissioner for the information society and media, and Meglena Kuneva, EU consumer commissioner, said at a joint press conference in Strasbourg.

Currently, the value of the video games market has reached half that of the music industry, with one third of the global gaming market European, according to commission data.

In addition, 42 percent of Europeans spend between one and five hours playing video games "in a typical week", while 11 percent spend more than 15 hours on this activity.

That is why "we have to develop a good level of information on the content of games," in order to protect children – but also young adults – from the most violent elements contained in some of them, Ms Reding said.

Since 2003, the vast majority of EU member states have been using an age-rating system called PEGI – Pan European Games Information – developed by the video games industry itself, in order to protect the youngest users from games judged too violent.

The system includes five age categories and uses content descriptors for bad language, discrimination, drugs, fear, sex, violence or gambling.

It is currently applied by 20 member states, while three use other legislative measures. Cyprus, Luxembourg, Romania and Slovenia have no age-rating system in place.

"PEGI, as an example of responsible industry self-regulation and the only such system with almost pan-European coverage, is certainly a very good first step," commissioner Reding stated.

"However, I believe it can be greatly improved, in Europe and beyond, by making the public more aware about its existence," she added.

No banning

Despite its concern that some video games could cause "aggressive behaviour" in individuals however, the commission admitted that a direct link between video games and violence is difficult to establish.

Instead, commissioner Kuneva said, "we need to work … on the precautionary principle".

For his part, Belgian Christian Democrat MEP Ivo Belet from the European Parliament's Committee for Culture and Education backed the commission's call for a generalised European system of age-rating and product information, and for increasing "the media literacy of young people".

But he also warned against the possible banning of some video games.

"Forbidding violent games or taking them off the market will not yield the result we want, as young consumers can get hold of them anyway online or via illegal downloads. Often x-rated games will only make games more attractive to young gamers," Mr Belet stated.

The commission also said it wanted "most of all" to inform parents and educators and "let them take their responsibility" when it comes to buy or not a certain game.

At this stage, four EU states – Germany, Ireland, Italy and the UK – have taken the step of prohibiting video games judged too violent.

EU posted workers face hurdles

Negotiations among the EU institutions will start soon, but could be difficult on several issues - like the inclusion of the transport sector or the duration of a posting.

EU overcomes divisions on posted workers

After a 12-hour discussion, EU employment ministers struck a compromise to reform the rules on workers posted in another country. The principle of equal pay for equal work has been adopted but the transport sector will get special treatment.

Investigation

How Romania became an EU workers' rights 'guinea pig'

"We are paid as if we were a country of unqualified workers". Union leaders and labour rights experts reveal, in figures, the catastrophic consequences of the laws that have turned Romania into the country of the working poor.

Opinion

Mind the gap: inequality in our cities

Minimum wages, 'living' wages and a universal basic income are all part of the ongoing mix to find ways to reduce social inequality across the EU.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Energy Ministers Pledge to Work More Closely at Nordic and EU Level
  2. European Friends of ArmeniaLaunch of Honorary Council on the Occasion of the Eastern Partnership Summit and CEPA
  3. International Partnership for Human RightsEU Leaders Should Press Azerbaijan President to End the Detention of Critics
  4. CECEKey Stakeholders to Jointly Tackle the Skills Issue in the Construction Sector
  5. Idealist Quarterly"Dear Politics, Time to Meet Creativity!" Afterwork Discussion & Networking
  6. Mission of China to the EUAmbassador Zhang Ming Received by Tusk; Bright Future for EU-China Relations
  7. EU2017EEEstonia, With the ECHAlliance, Introduces the Digital Health Society Declaration
  8. ILGA EuropeFreedom of Movement For All Families? Same Sex Couple Ask EU Court for Recognition
  9. European Jewish CongressEJC to French President Macron: We Oppose All Contact With Far-Right & Far-Left
  10. EPSUWith EU Pillar of Social Rights in Place, Time Is Ticking for Commission to Deliver
  11. ILGA EuropeBan on LGBTI Events in Ankara Must Be Overturned
  12. Bio-Based IndustriesBio-Based Industries: European Growth is in Our Nature!

Latest News

  1. Berlin risks being 'culprit' for stalling EU, warns Green MEP
  2. Eastern partners, eastern problems
  3. Germany's Schulz under pressure to enter coalition talks
  4. LuxLeaks trial re-opens debate on whistleblowers' protection
  5. Wilders says Russia is 'no enemy' ahead of Moscow visit
  6. EU must put Sudan under microscope at Africa summit
  7. Mali blames West for chaos in Libya
  8. Orban stokes up his voters with anti-Soros 'consultation'