Online age ratings hit UK

The British Board Of Film Classification is to introduce age ratings for downloadable video games in the UK – and ‘police’ online retailers to ensure they are not selling adult titles to youngsters.

The body this morning confirmed that it is to launch – a classification system for both e-retailers and downloadable games, film and TV content.

First revealed by MCV earlier this month, the scheme sees the BBFC logos and consumer advice made clear on the ‘purchase screen’ of downloadable content – as well as the firm’s famous ‘black card’ placed at the beginning of any downloaded content.

The scheme also requires e-retailers and content-on-demand services to have age-rating (or ‘gate-keeping’) systems in place to check the age of customers online. These retailers will be policed by the BBFC with random ‘test purchases’.

The BBFC said the voluntary system had already been agreed to by movie studios Walt Disney, Warner Bros and 20th Century Fox – and that it had already rated 700 of the trilogy’s films.

The BBFC’s head of policy Pete Johnson said that all major e-retailers were close to signing on the dotted line”, and that the body expected to make announcements of major e-tailers and games content providers signing up in the next few weeks”.

The body said the scheme would cover all formats that offered downloadable entertainment content – including games consoles, set top boxes, websites and mobile phones. The system will not affect games hosted online – including World Of Warcraft and other MMORPGS.

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