More than half of all games released in the UK are suitable for the entire family.
According to a report published by the Video Standards Council (VSC) - the regulatory body responsible for assigning PEGI ratings in the UK - 53.3 per cent of the 298 games submitted in the period between July 30 and December 31, 2012 were classified for children aged 7-years or under. More than 33 per cent were deemed suitable for children aged 3-years of under.
This runs contrary to gaming's apparent fascination with violence and mayhem - a frequent preoccupation of prominent industry figures and the press. Indeed, only 11.7 per cent of games submitted during that period were given an 18 classification, with a further 15.5 per cent awarded a 16 rating.
Give that the period between July and December is season for the industry's blockbusters, which are generally base on more adult subject matter, PEGI anticipates that a full-year report would have seen the 16 and 18 ratings come in, "two or three percentage points lower."
However, analysis of the VSC's ratings criteria shows a relatively severe stance on depictions of sex and nudity.
In terms of violence, the PEGI 16 classification is awarded for, " realistic violence and sustained depictions of death or injury to human characters." Furthermore, a PEGI 18 classification is awarded for, "Gross violence and such things as torture, sadism, horrific depictions of death or injury, motiveless killing and violence towards vulnerable people."
By contrast, a game will receive a PEGI 16 rating for showing the, "the sex act...in a non-explicit manner" or "erotic or sexual nudity." If sex is depicted explicitly then that rating would increase to PEGI 18. Theoretically, the, a game that featured sustained, sadistic violence would receive the same rating as a game that frankly depicted consensual sex on one occasion.
This could prove prohibitive for developers interested in exploring sex and sexuality in games - one of the few de facto taboos that remain for the medium - as the VSC "does not take context into account" when handing out ratings. Once a game depicts an act that falls under the PEGI 18 rating, it cannot be awarded anything less.
The VSC was declared the UK's official PEGI body in July 2012.