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Age ratings given to video and game downloads

Web-based games won't be affected

Videos and games available for download online are to be given age classifications under a new plan from the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC).

The scheme, called BBFC.online, has been created in response to independent research that reports 74 percent of parents are concerned about the lack of ratings on downloads. It will introduce an "age verification or gate-keeping system" to help parents to monitor and control what their children are downloading.

Disney, Warner Brothers and Fox are among the studios that have already signed up. It is expected that by May more than 1,000 videos will have online certificates.

Peter Johnson, head of policy at the BBFC, explained that online games would not be affected by the system.

"If what you're doing is providing the game to the consumer and you're using the internet as a form of delivery, as an alternative to mail order or shops, then that's included in the scheme. If the gameplay is hosted online then that's not included in the scheme," he explained.

Johnson added the BBFC would work in conjunction with gaming industry body Pegi to regulate online gaming.

"We don't need to set up in rivalry with Pegi online. We can work cooperatively," he said.

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