EU could force official ratings on games

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EU could force official ratings on games

Row over Rule of Rose 'torture' game could have wider implications.

The European Union could force games manufacturers to submit to an official classification system, according to comments from Justice Commissioner Franco Frattini. 

"It is first and foremost the responsibility of parents to protect children from such games, but I nevertheless think that we at Member State and European level also have to take responsibility to protect children's rights," he told The Times.

Frattini's comments refer to Rule of Rose, a game that includes kidnapping and torture scenes. "These types of games are dreadful examples for our children," he said.

The Justice Commissioner will now speak to a meeting of the EU Home Affairs ministers next month and could call for tougher labelling and sales restrictions.

However, Frattini hoped that the industry would come forward with its own proposals to protect children, and may lobby for a voluntary code of conduct for games aimed at young people.

Computer and video games currently use a voluntary system of classification as part of the industry's self regulation.

In Rule of Rose, players control a young girl who is physically and mentally abused by the staff at the orphanage from which she is trying to escape.

The game was awarded a 16-plus rating by the independent Pan European Game Information body.
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