The Australian video games industry is finally set to receive an 18+ classification after years of campaigning.
Today, the federal government introduced a new classification bill to include an R18+ rating for video games by 2013. Currently, the highest classification for games in Australia is MA15+, which means titles that exceed this rating cannot be legally sold.
The new rating will bring gaming in line with the classification systems used for film and television, with a G, PG, M, MA15+ and R18+ rating catering to all age groups.
The legislation still needs to be passed before the bill becomes a reality, but this is largely expected to be a formality (all of the State Governments have already approved the introduction of the rating).
The debate over Australia’s lack of an adult rating for video games has been raging for years, with a string of high-profile games refused classification by the Australian Classification Board. The introduction of an 18+ rating will allow games to be legally sold that contain content deemed unnacceptable for persons under 15.
UPDATED: Several hours after the publication of this article, the Australian Oppositiion asked that the R18+ bill be sent for an inquiry. This does not necessarily mean a lengthy delay, but at the very least, we can expect a few extra months of examination before the bill is passed.
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