The British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) has revealed plans to introduce age ratings for downloadable video content and video games in the UK.
Currently the BBFC’s logo only appears on cinema posters, DVD packaging and on retail video games with adult content or which have been formally submitted by the publishers. The organization’s new scheme would see websites also being certified using the same criteria and age ratings of “U” (for universal), “PG”, “12”, “12A”, “15” and “18”.
Major content providers including 20th Century Fox, Warner Bros. and Disney have already signed up to contribute to the scheme, while the BBFC will have already rated 1,000 videos by the end of May.
The scheme is entirely voluntary, with signees being required to maintain an age verification or other gate-keeping system to limit underage access. The system is not underpinned by any new legislation and will be policed by the BBFC itself.
Speaking to the BBC, Peter Johnson, head of policy at the BBFC, insisted that the new scheme was not an attempt to regulate online video gaming
and that the BBFC would continue to work with European regulatory body Pegi online.
However, he did indicate that the scheme could be applied to online consoles services such as Xbox Live, the PlayStation Network and the recently launched WiiWare.