It’s been a long time coming but Australia is finally getting the adult rating for video games that Aussie gamers have been clamoring for. You know, the adult rating that movies and books in that country already have.
For years, MA15+ was the highest rating Australia had for video games. This meant that many games were either released with a rating that many felt was too low (Duke Nukem Forever or F.E.A.R. 3 for example), were edited to fit the lower rating (50 Cent: Bulletproof and Dark Sector) or got banned outright (Mortal Kombat and recently, Syndicate).
Canberra, the country’s capital, will start using the new R18+ rating next week. If the adult rating is successful (and why wouldn’t it be? It works for the ESRB, CERO, BBFC, PEGI, USK, OFLC...), it will be rolled out to the rest of the territories in 2013.
"This is part of a national reform that will allow adult gamers to view R18+ material in the same way that can already be done for film and printed material," said ACT Attorney-General Simon Corbell. "But at the same time it will also provide protection to parents and children by giving parents better guidance about what material is and is not appropriate for people under the age of 18."
It will be interesting to see if the introduction of an adult rating for video games changes anything. The Australian Classification Board still has the ability to refuse classification to any title it feels doesn’t meet the R18+ rating’s criteria.
AE: I don’t think we’ve seen the end of games suffering the wrath of the Australian banhammer but I continue to hold out hope that one day all games will be rated appropriately, allowing gamers to decide for themselves whether they want to buy them or not.
Wouldn’t that be nice?
-Reporting from San Diego, GamePolitics Contributing Editor Andrew Eisen