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Byron Review will create videogame delays, warns EA

Certification process could slow games releases

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If changes to the classification of videogames in the UK - as proposed by the Byron Review - get the go-ahead, then gamers will be forced to wait longer for titles to hit the shops, Electronic Arts has warned.

In a report by Gamesindustry.biz, Keith Ramsdale, general manager for EA in the UK, Ireland and Nordic regions, said the changes would create “an extra and unnecessary layer of administration”, causing delays that will ultimately “get passed on to the players themselves”.

The Byron Review - a government-ordered investigation into the potential risks of videogames and the internet to children – recently recommended that videogames be rated like movies. It also suggested that cinema-style labels should be adopted alongside elements of the voluntary Pan European Game Information (Pegi) system, which is currently followed by many game manufacturers.

As a result, the BBFC would be required to take on more classification duties. However, a BBFC spokeswoman has previously told Register Hardware that it’s perfectly able to do so, despite critics claiming that the censor isn’t up to the job.

“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,” grumbled Ramsdale.

No decision on whether to make any changes to the existing UK videogames classification system has been made yet.

No matter what rating a game receives, an undercover investigation has proven that it’s still relatively easy for kids to get hold of their favourite titles.

Consumer advocate Which? and Harrow Trading Standards recently asked a 15-year old girl to try and buy 18-rated videogames from nine High Street stores. Three shops sold them to her, including one where the girl even told staff her real age.

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