We recommend some of the family-friendly games, take a look at the different communities in each title and remind parents of the PEGI game age ratings in the UK…
Pan European Game Information (PEGI) is the single video games age ratings system that is in force across Europe. This means it is illegal for a retailer to sell a video game to someone who is below the game’s official PEGI age rating.
There are five age ratings: 3, 7, 12, 16 and 18.
Many popular esports shooter games – including Counter-Strike, Call of Duty, Gears of War and Battlefield – are 18+ and targeted at adults.
However, there are lots of esports games which have low age ratings and are suitable for children and families to play.
Some of the most popular 3+ games include football titles such as FIFA and Pro Evolution Soccer (PES), racing games including Forza and Gran Turismo (though they aren’t regarded as huge esports games), and one that interestingly mixes the two genres: Rocket League.
There are also other sports titles that aren’t quite regarded as esports, such as Madden NFL and NHL ice hockey games.
Going further up the age ratings, 7+ titles are those that would be rated 3+ but contain some ‘possibly frightening scenes or sounds’. Games in this bracket include digital card game Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft,monster fighting games Pokémon and Pokken Tournament, war shooter World of Tanks and world builder Minecraft. The latter isn’t huge in the world of esports (yet) but is popular with children allows players to compete in challenge courses and parkour-style time trials.
Moving to the 12+ rating, these games may show some violence, but bad language in these titles is mild, falling short of sexual expletives. Combat is not usually graphic or realistic, but may be mild and feature a cartoon-like art style.
For example, multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) games like Heroes of the Storm, League of Legends, SMITE and Dota 2, as well as shooter Overwatch and fighting games such as Street Fighter V and Super Smash Bros.
The PEGI 16+ category includes games that depict violence or sexual activity as it would be expected in real life. There may be more bad language, use of drugs and criminal activities featured.
In this category you have esports games such as shooters Halo and Team Fortress 2, as well as sci-fi strategy game StarCraft II.
The highest age rating, 18, is applied when the level of violence reaches a stage where it ‘becomes a depiction of gross violence and/or includes elements of specific types of violence’, that may make the viewer feel a sense of revulsion. Games here include beat ’em up Mortal Kombat, as well as the aforementioned shooter games Call of Duty, Counter-Strike and Gears of War among others.
Looking beyond the age ratings
It’s worth noting that many online games (including PEGI 3+ titles) enable voice or text chat in their online multiplayer modes, and as such, adult discussion, swearwords and insults can be common.
Game developers and publishers have the power to punish or ban offensive players, but often after the damage has been done.
If you’re buying a game for a minor, it’s good practice to research the video game before purchasing.
All of the games in our list below are multiplayer titles, so if you’re a parent, you can play them with your children.
Check out our list of esports games or the PEGI website for more advice and information on each specific title.
Image source: Freeimages.com/Nevit Dilmen