Adult rating for games welcomed


Censored: NSW has refused to back the introduction of an adults-only rating for video games, despite all other states endorsing it. Artwork: Jamie Smetkowski

IT has been a long wait for the gaming industry but it looks like there will be an R18+ classification for video games.NSW was the only state to oppose the introduction of an adult category after Attorney-General Greg Smith said he would consider the proposal out of session, at the Standing Committee of Attorneys-General (SCAG) meeting in Adelaide last Friday.

Australia’s highest classification is MA15+ which means video games suitable for adults would be censored to fit this category or simply banned altogether.

Interactive Games and Entertainment Association chief executive Ron Curry, of Peakhurst, said this was a huge win for the gaming industry.

“It is a welcome step forward and the start of a longer process to introduce the appropriate legislation,” Mr Curry said.

“We have not seen the new recommended guidelines but, essentially, video games will have the same limitations as film to restrict unsuitable material for children.”

A national petition with about 90,000 signatures in favour of an R18+ classification was collected over an eight-week period by video game store Game and website PAL Gaming Network (PALGN) last year.

PALGN director Roland Kulen said he was happy with the outcome.

“It has always been about having a better understanding of what games are suitable for over 18 and which games are not,” Mr Kulen said.

“The introduction of an R18+ classification for video games will provide better advice to parents and help prevent children and teenagers from accessing unsuitable material.”

Engadine mother Janet Mitchell said the move would help her choose appropriate games for her 13-year-old son.

“I’m no expert about what kind of content there is beyond the cover,” Ms Mitchell said.

“But this introduction could give me a better indication of what kind of video game to purchase for my son, who loves to play his Xbox.”

Home Affairs Minister Brendan O’Connor welcomed the in-principle agreement when he met the censorship ministers at the SCAG meeting.

Mr O’Connor said it was a big step forward.

“The introduction of an R18+ classification for computer games will provide better advice to parents and help prevent children and teenagers from accessing unsuitable material,” he said.

“It is a credit to all jurisdictions that the meeting has now been able to achieve agreement.”

Mr O’Connor said the federal government would implement the rating regardless of NSW’s decision.


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