The majority of games in this category do not contain anything that requires rating or warrants a content warning. Games given this rating are considered suitable for all age groups. Some violence in a comical context or child-friendly setting is acceptable, as is nudity when shown in a completely natural and non-sexual manner such as breast feeding.
Any game that would normally be rated at 3 but contains some possibly frightening scenes or sounds may be considered suitable in this category. A little more violence is permissible at PEGI 7. It is always unrealistic and often directed towards fantasy characters, though very mild non-realistic violence to humans may also feature. Implied violence (for example the bombing of a city where violence is not seen directly) is also dealt with at this level.
At a PEGI 12 level more graphic and realistic looking violence towards fantasy characters is allowed. Any violence towards human characters must look unrealistic unless it consists of only minor or trivial injury such as a slap. Sexual posturing of the type often seen in music videos is also allowed at this level as is sexual innuendo. Some bad language is allowed but it can be no more than mild swearing. PEGI 12 is the minimum rating a game which teaches or encourages gambling can receive, though the descriptor also appears on PEGI 16 and PEGI 18 games. A game at this level may feature horror content such as strong threat and dread or graphic injury details.
At the 16 level you can expect to see more mature and realistic violence against human characters. The game may deal heavily with death and injury to humans. Gory and bloody violence may be included at a PEGI 16 level but only if the game is arcade style. Sexual activity can be shown but it must not include visible genitals. Depictions of erotic nudity may feature. The worst forms of bad language can be heard and will often include sexual expletives. The use of tobacco and alcohol may be encouraged, and the game can feature the use of illegal drugs. The game could glamorise crime.
The adult classification is applied when the level of violence becomes gross. Gross violence is classed as horrific methods of bringing death or severe injury, including torture, decapitation or dismemberment. Violence against vulnerable characters such as children and the elderly may feature, along with motiveless violence against multiple innocents. Sexual violence and threat are also classified at PEGI 18. The game may include detailed descriptions of criminal techniques, or it may glamorise the use of illegal drugs. Sexual activity with visible genital organs can be shown.
Each game should display one of these pictures if it has set criteria in the game. This informs the parent what the content of the game is.
Regional lockouts in video games have been achieved by several methods, such as hardware/software authentication, slot pin-out change, differences in cartridge cases, IP blocking and online software patching. Most console video games have region encoding.
The main regions are:
- Japan and Asia (NTSC-J)
- North America and South America (NTSC-U)
- Europe, New Zealand and Australia (PAL region)
- China (NTSC-C)