Let the games begin with the introduction of a new R18+ rating video games classification.
After decades of campaigning by video games companies, retailers and gamers alike, the Australian Senate approved legislation allowing an R18+ category. Games could arrive on our stores as early as next year with the national classification scheme scheduled to commence on January 1, 2013.
A petition run in conjunction with GAME retailers netted more than 89,000 signatures in 2010, and a discussion paper released by the Attorney-General’s department in 2009 received more than 58,000 submissions with 98 per cent supporting the move.
“These are important reforms over 10 years in the making,” Home Affairs Minister Jason Clare said.
“The R18+ category will inform consumers, parents and retailers about which games are not suitable for minors to play and will prevent minors from purchasing unsuitable material.
“The reforms also mean that adults are able to choose what games they play within the bounds of the law.”
Previously the highest rating for games was MA15+. This meant that games with a higher rating were either not sold in Australia and obtained illegally overseas or the games given a lower rating allowing children to be able to purchase the games which contained unsuitable content for minors.
The new laws bring computer games in line with the classification system for films and other material which also have a R18+ rating and make Australia more consistent with international classifications and standards. There will also be better controls on what material is deemed suitable for children, a definite step forward not back.
The new R18+ rating system couldn’t come at a better time, especially with games like God of War, Watch Dogs and The Last of Us due to be released in 2013 bringing Australia firmly into the 21st century at long last.
*image is unofficial