U.K. Web Site Explains Games Industry Ratings System
Those who aren't hip to the huge gaming phenomenon in the United Kingdom have a new resource to help them understand the age-rating system used for Britain's video games.
The Entertainment & Leisure Software Publishers Associationin Britain has launched a new Web site to provide information about the age rating rules as well as laws governing the industry. The site also provides industry statistics, information about piracy and advice for safe gaming.
The site says more people in the United Kingdom play more games than anywhere else in Europe. It describes gaming as a "mainstream activity" and equates it with listening to music and watching films. For those who aren't in the know, it even offers a glossary.
The Web site advises good lighting, breaks and time limits. It says games aren't a proven cause of violence and don't cause epilepsy but can cause headaches if played too long or in poorly lit areas. It says there's no neurological evidence of addiction and that it's no more likely to cause hardening of the arteries than any other sedentary activity.
It breaks down ratings based on minimum ages: 3, 7, 12, 15, 16 and 18, using the mandatory British Board of Film Classification system. Though the BBFC has an R18 rating for pornographic material, the game classification doesn't include the rating. Games are also classified with the voluntary Pan European Game Information. That system provides warnings for violence, language, fear, sex, drugs and discrimination.
More than 25 million dedicated gaming devices have been sold in the United Kingdom since 1995, which is enough for one in every household, according to askaboutgames.com. In the last 10 years, people have bought more than 335 million computer and video games, five for every person and 13 for every home, according to ELSPA.
More than a third of the kingdom's population plays computer games. Among the entire European population, only 18 percent are games players, according to the site The U.K. console market is larger than that in France and Germany combined though it includes only 60 million people compared to the two countries' combined population of 140 million.
The average gamer in Britain is 23, has been playing for more than 10 years (since Sony PlayStation was released), and plays 11 hours a week. Only male British players spend more on games than women, compared against all other demographics in Europe. The average British female is 30 to 35 years old.
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, FIFA Soccer and the Harry Potter series are the most popular. It sold one million units in the first nine days of its 2004 release.
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