VG247 points out the release of a new document released by Australia's classification board, which puts a strong emphasis on the negative effects that games can have due to their "interactive elements."
"As a general rule, computer games may have a higher impact than similarly themed depictions of the classifiable elements in film, and therefore greater potential for harm or detriment, particularly to minors," the document reads in part.
The concern among groups that represent the interactive entertainment industry in the country, like Interactive Games and Entertainment Association, is that the Australian Government is holding video games to a higher ratings standard because of their "interactivity."
The IGEA issued a statement today giving the report a "reserved and qualified welcome," with some caveats and some hope that the final ratings would be reasonable.
"Given the opposition to the introduction of an R18+ category from a vocal yet unrepresentative section of the community, along with a largely conservative group of Attorneys-General, it is no surprise the new guidelines hold video games to a higher standard across a number of categories compared to film and what originally existed for video games,” the organization said in a statement.
"As we have previously stated, we are concerned with the acknowledgment in the guidelines that interactivity has greater impact on players, despite the Federal Attorney-General’s office publishing a literature review in September 2010 that found no evidence to support these claims. There will be continued debate about whether the interactivity of video games has a greater impact than other forms of media, and we will continue to refer to the lack of the evidence to support these claims."
"Ultimately, we will need to wait to see how the Classification Board interpret and administer the new R18+ and revised M and MA15+ categories. We trust that they will reflect the standards of morality, decency and propriety accepted by reasonable adults, not just the vocal ones."
You can read the entire document being referred to by the IGEA here (PDF).