Xbox 360 to have age restriction feature

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Gaming

Microsoft`s next-generation Xbox 360 game console, which will be released worldwide at the end of this year, will come equipped with an age restriction feature.

If the age of children using the console is entered in advance, software that has an age restriction above that age cannot be viewed. The Xbox 360 reportedly is the first home game console to provide such a feature, the Japanese newspaper Mainichi Shimbun reported Thursday.

Microsoft officials said the console reads data from the DVD when the software is loaded, including the age restriction for that software. The age restrictions on the console follow the four categories classified by the Computer Entertainment Rating Organization -- age 12 and up, age 15 and up, age 18 and up, and all ages.

In addition to being able to restrict the viewing of DVD software, the Xbox 360 also can be programmed in advance to control access to voice-chat sites.

Restrictions reportedly will be introduced in consoles in Europe and the United States to match specific areas. Japan recently has moved to control certain software, with the controversial game "Grand Theft Auto" being deemed by the Kanagawa prefectural government as a "harmful product."

United Press International