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UK survey backs 'single European ratings system'

ELSPA-commissioned YouGov research says 67 per cent of British adults "believe it is important"

ELSPA has turned up the heat in its row on ratings with the BBFC by publishing research appearing to show that the majority of adults in the UK would support a single age ratings system for videogames that works across Europe.

According to the YouGov findings 67 per cent of the 1990 people questioned preferred the idea of a pan-European format. The only ratings system that fulfils that remit is the publisher-backed system of self-regulation - PEGI - although the recent Byron Report recommended that UK watchdog, the BBFC, take more responsibility from PEGI rather than less.

In a statement, ELSPA pointed out that while PEGI is adopted in over 25 other countries in Europe, "it acts as part of a duel [sic] system that also involves the BBFC at the older end of the scale" - something which the publisher body feels is detrimental to the clarity of communication for consumers.

And MEP Michael Cashman added: "I am not surprised that most Brits believe it is vital that we are signed-up to a pan-European rating system. Many buy their games when they are away, and others download content from European games companies. These are trends which will inevitably continue.

"PEGI and PEGI Online offer security when UK residents buy games from the continent - and when visiting Europeans buy games from us during their visits.

"PEGI rates the suitability of games for all ages, which is very important. The PEGI system was even partly devised by representatives of the British videogames industry, and today it offers comprehensive protection for children both at home and overseas. I welcome the latest YouGov findings."

The ratings element of the Byron Report is scheduled for a period of public consultation during which the merits of both systems will be debated.

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