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Generally, when a film or computer game is changed (‘modified’), it must be classified again. This page explains some exceptions to this rule.

Computer game modifications

Some kinds of modified games do not have to be submitted for classification and can automatically use the classification and consumer advice of the original game.

A computer game does not need to be classified again if it meets five criteria:

  • It must be minor and/or technical. This means that it must not cause the modified game to be significantly different to the original game.
  • The modification must not be a ‘discrete work’. A discrete work is a game that does not require the original game in order to play.
  • It must not have a major effect on gameplay.
  • It must not change the title of the original game.
  • It must not be likely to cause the game to need a different classification.

These exceptions could apply if:

  • a computer game is modified after the game is originally classified
  • a developer creates two versions of the same game, and then classifies one version but not the other

If the modification does not fit these five criteria, the computer game needs to be classified.
Examples of modified games that would not be covered include:

  • Patches or updates that give access to previously hidden content that is likely to change the game’s classification.
  • A remake of a simple game with vastly improved graphics that means the modified game is unrecognisable from the original.
  • Additions of items or environments that completely change the general way a player interacts with a game.
  • A game that has the same or similar characters, settings and plot as the original but can be played as a standalone game.

Film modifications

When film is modified it generally needs to be classified again. However, there are some exceptions where certain types of modifications do not require the film to be classified again, and the film can automatically use the classification and the consumer advice of the original film. These exceptions are:

  • including or removing an advertisement
  • adding or removing navigation functions or material that provides a description or translation of the audio or visual content of the film
  • format changes, such as from 2D or 3D (or vice versa) or other changes to the audio‑visual experience
  • changing a black and white film to colour in full or in part (or vice versa)*
  • converting an analogue film to digital (or vice versa)*
  • colour grading, visual effects or audio level changes*
  • omitting footage or audio*

*These exceptions only apply if the original film was classified on or after 1 January 2013.  

All of these exceptions only apply if the modification is not likely to cause the film to be given a different classification. If the modification is likely to cause the film to be given a different classification, the modified film will need to be classified.

Further details

For details on the modifications rules refer to sections 20A and 21 of the Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Act 1995 and the Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) (Modifications of Films) Instrument 2015 and Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) (Modifications of Computer Games) Instrument 2015.