New media, new effects, new rules: The European system PEGI (age ratings for computer games), will be re-examined in terms of the appearing 2016 virtual reality games.
Especially games in the horror genre, with a focus on negative emotions such as fear and anxiety. Also normal games combined with the effects of virtual reality games are more intense than conventional monitors, so the age ratings should be adjusted upwards. The re-evaluation should take place in the coming months, when the first VR goggles and games are available. MCV PEGI CEO Dirk Bosmans says: “PEGI will examine the upcoming VR products on the basis of the previous criteria, but some elements need to be adjusted. This relates specifically to the evaluation criteria of fear and horror […]. ”
The German PEGI counterpart USK (Entertainment Software Self-Regulation) has already been classified differently in January 2015 for Monitor and VR goggles when VR-demo “The Deep” came out. Here you take the role of a deep-sea diver in a diving cage, which is attacked by a shark. While the conventional version is released for 12 years, it should be 15 years according to the USK because it powers the intense experience of VR-games. Also PlayStation boss Shu Yoshida admitted in an interview that for VR-media the age ratings must be re-discussed. He believes that through the intensive and negative VR experiences even trauma can trigger could: “The medium is so intense that we need adjust the age ratings in the future for this new system to help our clients better reflect the contents, so they can prepare.”
Even Facebook and Oculus VR restrict the use of Oculus Rift for children. They advise no VR glasses for children under the age of 13 until they understand the technique fully: “Let us continue to develop the technology to get more confidence in the safety and health effects,” explains Oculus VR CEO Brendan Iribe in his decision.