The European Parliament is calling on member states to use and promote the PEGI (Pan European Game Information) and PEGI Online ratings systems for games.
The Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) discussed a report prepared by Dutch politician Toine Manders, and paid special attention to the issue of consumer protection for the game industry, particularly regarding minors.
The report called for the European Parliament to endorse the existing PEGI system, which was described as an "elegant solution" to the challenges of rating games played online or delivered as downloadable content.
Manders also called for an effective age verification system for games, and suggested that the European games industry should be encouraged to develop an effective form of self-regulation.
Positively, video games were acknowledged as "predominately non-violent", and "a winning form of entertainment" that can be used "for valuable educational purposes."
"Toine Manders has taken a very close look at the needs of a rating system for games that works well across the EU and concluded that PEGI is the right way forward both on and offline," says Michael Rawlinson of UK trade body Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers Association.
"It is a ringing endorsement of the rating system that we in the UK were instrumental in helping to set up several years ago," he adds.
"The protection of children is of paramount importance to this industry, and we are delighted that a body as significant at the EU’s Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs committee fully comprehends the merits of PEGI."
Although the PEGI system is used across Europe, it is also usually supplemented -- or in some cases replaced -- by country-specific ratings. In the UK in particular, rivalry between the BBFC (British Board of Film Classification) and PEGI has generated an ongoing debate
over the benefits of each system.