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EA: Ratings plan will cause delays to UK release dates

Multiple standards to add "unnecessary" admin and cause British gamers to suffer

The VP and general manager of Electronic Arts in the UK, Ireland and Nordic regions, Keith Ramsdale, has told GamesIndustry.biz exclusively that if the proposed ratings changes outlined in the Byron Review go ahead, British gamers will face delays to the release of new titles.

"The government's proposed changes to the existing age rating systems will create further delays in getting hit games to the UK," he said. "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."

Those proposed changes would see a marked increase in the number of games rated by the BBFC, specifically anything that would require a 12-plus certification or higher. Meanwhile the role of PEGI would be scaled back to concentrate on all titles suitable for under-12s.

"Every time you add a new standard, game developers have to guess what the censors are looking for. 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 consumers what their preferences were with the proposals outlined subject to a period of public consultation.

"With all the discussion about the Byron Review, we know what the government thinks, but someone needs to speak up for British consumers," Ramsdale added. "Has anyone asked British consumers what they think?"

According to recent ELSPA research conducted by YouGov, 67 per cent of the British adults polled preferred the concept of a single pan-European ratings format - pointing firmly towards the publisher-backed PEGI scheme.

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