According to the new rating rules of PEGI, games may receive higher ratings, depending on the type of content they offer. Games that feature content encouraging some form of gambling will receive a rating of PEGI 18. Currently, games that receive higher ratings are depicting Violence, Bad language, Fear, Sex, Drugs, or Gambling.
Due to the new ratings of PEGI, even new releases of old Pokemon games may be rated 18+ for gambling. According to the updated rating criteria of PEGI, any game that “encourages or teaches gambling” will immediately fall under the category of PEGI 18. A few hours after the update, PEGI clarified that old games with simulated gambling will keep their old ratings as long as they are re-released without any alterations or modernizations that may be considered as a release of a new game.
Games Teaching and Glamorizing Gambling Automatically Rated 18+
In addition to the standard content descriptions players can see on different games, PEGI has also recently added In-Game Purchases on the official boxes of some games or their store pages. Typically, the rating that a game can receive ranges between 3 and 18, corresponding to the type of content included in it.
Until recently, games that included gambling elements could be seen receiving a rating of PEGI 12 or PEGI 16. Due to the latest changes in rating criteria, however, in the future, such games will automatically receive a PEGI 18 rating.
According to PEGI’s statement about the new rating criteria, the new changes will apply to games that portray any action that glamorizes games of chance that are considered a form of gambling. Such depictions include betting money on events that are typically seen in casinos, racetracks, or gambling halls. To fall under the Gambling rating category, the game must teach players how to gamble or it must glamorize the act of gambling.
Games that teach the rules of card games that are typically played for real money or explain the odds in horse racing are the perfect example for titles that will receive the PEGI 18 rating. Meanwhile, games that are simply featuring gambling or betting in their general storylines will not receive a higher age rating.
18+ Rating May Affect Even Older Games, PEGI Clarifies New Rating Rules Apply Only to New Releases
One example of the games that will be affected by the new rating rules is Overboard, as reported by AskAboutGames. The murder mystery game will have players act as the murderer in the story, trying to convince other people of their innocence. As the game features “Mild Violence, Suggestive Themes and Use of Alcohol”, it has previously been rated PEGI 12. However, since there is a scene where you can play blackjack against another character in the game, Overboard can now be rated PEGI 18 for Gambling.
Even old Nintendo games like Pokemon Red and Blue can also receive a higher rating if they are re-released. This old-school classic features a slot-machine-filled building where players can make in-game purchases to earn more money or redeem various prizes.
After the news about the new PEGI rating rules caused some confusion, the video game rating company clarified that the updated criteria apply only to new releases. This means that if old games that feature simulated gambling are re-released, they will keep their current age ratings. The new rating system will not apply as long as these games are not revamped or altered as new versions of the older titles.