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Australia set for R18+ computer game rating

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It’s been a long time coming but Australia looks like it will finally have an R18+ rating for computer games.

Yesterday the Home Affairs minister Brendan O’Connor announced the Standing Committee of Attorneys General (SCAG) have agreed in principle to introduce the R18+ classification.

Ron Curry, CEO of the Interactive Game and Entertainment Association (iGEA), says the move is a positive step for the video games industry.  

Australia is one of the last remaining developed countries which has yet to introduce an R18+ rating.

The campaign to establish the classification has been underway for some time with the aim to make it easier for parents and older players to determine which games are suitable for them and their children.

In Australia the average age of a gamer is actually 30 and getting older.

The vibrant video game industry has also been battling for the R18+ to bring it in line with other forms of entertainment like movies and television.

“An in-principle agreement for an R18+ classification is a big step towards a robust ratings system that best equips parents to manage their children’s access to appropriate content, as well as enables adults the ability to play games of their choice within the confines of the law,” said Curry.

Eight out of the nine Attorneys General have agreed in principle to put forward the R18+ rating with NSW Attorney General Greg Smith abstaining from voting.

iGEA’s Curry says he looks forward to discussing the issue with Mr Smith.

“It is entirely reasonable that each Minister should have taken the necessary time to fully understand the underlying issues and to grasp why Australia so desperately needs an adult classification for video game, and we look forward to entering into a dialogue with NSW Attorney-General Greg Smith,” says Curry.

“This is the first step in the legislative process and until we can review the final guidelines, we can’t fully assess the impact of an adult rating for games in Australia.

“We can be confident however that all content will be subjected to stringent classification guidelines and games which exceed an R18+ classification rating will still be refused classification and banned in Australia.

“With an adult rating finally on the horizon, we can now better focus our energy on more relevant discussions around content classification as entertainment formats and content continue to blur.”

The government commissioned a survey in December last year which polled 2,226 people and found 80 per cent supported an R18+ rating for video games. And 91 per cent said an R18+ rating would help adults clearly know a game is unsuitable for children.