Electronic Arts has slammed plans to introduce a cinema-style age classification for video games.

Dr Tanya Byron, a TV psychologist, proposed a strict and legally binding classification system for video games in her report in March on internet safety.

However EA, which makes about one in five video games sold in the UK, reckons that a system such as that would be unworkable and confusing.

Two systems currently rate video games in Britain - the compulsory one is run by the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC). PEGI, the Pan European Games Information body, is voluntary.

Video games only get a mandatory review by the BBFC if they include "human sexual activity" or "gross violence".

PEGI, on the other hand, has its own age recommendations (3+, 7+, 12+, 16+ and 18+) as well as a series of symbols to depict certain features of a game, such as violence, drug abuse, discrimination or sexual behaviour. This is designed to primarily educate parents on the content of the game, so they know what their little darlings will be faced with.

What Dr Byron propses is that BBFC rate all games designed for older children, combining a cinema-style rating of U/PG/12/15/18 with parts of the PEGI system.

However, EA is calling for the voluntary PEGI system alone to be made legally binding.

"What we need is a single system," said Keith Ramsdale, who runs EA's business in the UK. "There are some video games that are already rated 18 on the current system but would be at 15 on the new cinema model."

His comments come days after ministers agreed they would conult on changes to the age classification of video games.