On January 1, the Australian R18+ classification for video games went into effect. Prior to that, Australia remained one of the few developed countries not to have a classification equivalent to a "mature" game rating. In the past, games that had content that was considered too mature for the country's MA15+ category would often be refused classification - effectively games at this level were banned for sale in the region.
As of Jan 1, 2013, publishers can submit video games for consideration under the R18+ classification, and games that had been refused classification may be resubmitted to the country's ratings board if two years have lapsed since the original classification. Games that the Board deems inappropriate for the R18+ rating can still be refused classification.
Speaking to ABC, South Australia's Attorney-General John Rau said that the new classification strikes a good balance between giving the industry a rating classification it needed while providing parents with the proper information they need to make game purchases for their children:
"We've actually achieved a good balance where in effect MA15+ has become more restrictive and games that previously would have been in MA15+ are now going to be sitting in R18+. It's a win for the gamers who wanted to have the opportunity as adults to purchase these games, but it's also a win for parents because they can be more confident that games that are age-inappropriate will not be available to people under 18."