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New ratings system could delay releases

So says EA executive.

EA UK boss Keith Ramsdale has warned the Government's proposed new ratings system could cause delays to the release of games in Britain.

At present, only games rated 15 or 18 by PEGI are then passed on to the British Board of Film Classification for certification. In her recent report, Dr Tanya Byron recommended the cut-off point be lowered to include games rated 12+. This would mean the BBFC has more games to rate, and needs more time to get the extra work done.

Speaking exclusively to factmongers Gamesindustry.biz, Ramsdale said, "The Government's proposed changes to the existing age rating systems will create further delays in getting hit games to the UK.

"An extra and unnecessary layer of administration beyond a single system slows the process, and that delay will get passed on to the players themselves."

The BBFC is not a huge organisation, and its resources are limited. The concern is that the extra workload could result in significant delays - not just to games rated 12+, but also those in the 15 and 18 brackets.

"Every time you add a new standard, game developers have to guess what the censors are looking for," Ramsdale said. "If there's more than one standard in the UK, and across Europe, that can only equal delays in getting games to market and into the hands of British players."

And he urged the Government to ask gamers what they want to happen.

"With all the discussion about the Byron Review, we know what the Government thinks, but someone needs to speak up for British consumers," Ramsdale said, possibly with his arms folded, perhaps even while banging a fist on the table. "Has anyone asked British consumers what they think?"

Sort of. A recent You Gov study showed 67 per cent of UK adults polled preferred the idea of a single, pan-European ratings system. Meanwhile, 38 per cent said they preferred Hob Nobs to Jaffa Cakes, and 17 per cent said they would be willing to try it but only with a long-term partner they felt relaxed and comfortable with.

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GamesIndustry International is the world's leading games industry website, incorporating GamesIndustry.biz and IndustryGamers.com.

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