The British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) has announced the launch of a new voluntary scheme designed to get its rating system online for downloadable games and movies.

Walt Disney Studios, Warner Bros and 20th Century Fox have already signed up for the new service, called BBFC online. Over 600 downloads have already been given with a BBFC online ratings certificate.

BBFC online will cover a wide range of content throughout the internet, however it will not have anything to do with rating online games - such as World of Warcraft.

Peter Johnson, head of policy for the BBFC, explained: "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."

Representatives from the BBFC denied any competition with PEGI Online, a similar online content rating system set up in 2003, and have instead suggested both bodies would have to work together to provide better ratings for online games.

"We don't need to set up in rivalry to PEGI Online ... We can work co-operatively", said David Cooke, director of the BBFC.

"My view is that we are better resourced than PEGI and, unlike PEGI, we don't have to go to the games industry to get their approval when we expand, so resources are not an issue for us."