As you've probably heard by now, Brendan Connor, the Federal Minister for Justice, has released a draft guideline in support of introducing an R18 rating for games.
The guide has been put together and distributed to Ministers ahead of a July meeting on the decision.
While the proposal opens up mature content for gamers over 18, tighter restrictions will apply to the MA15+ classification; particularly when it comes to sex and nudity.
You can read the full draft on the Classification website, but here are the salient points:
Under the Code, classification decisions are to give effect, as far as possible, to the following principles:
(a) adults should be able to read, hear, see and play what they want;
(b) minors should be protected from material likely to harm or disturb them;
(c) everyone should be protected from exposure to unsolicited material that they find offensive;
(d) the need to take account of community concerns about:
(i) depictions that condone or incite violence, particularly sexual violence; and
(ii) the portrayal of persons in a demeaning manner.
Interestingly, the breakdowns between what's allowable under a re-worked MA15 and R18, especially in terms of sex and nudity, suggests that a game like LA Noire is most definitely worthy of an R18 rating.
In addition, sexual activity must not be tied to rewards or incentives under the new MA15+ guidelines. 'Strong and realistic violence' is still okay, but only is it's not very frequent.
The debate over Australia’s lack of an adult rating for video games has been raging for years. Last month, the Polish role playing game The Witcher 2 ran afoul of the Australian Classification Board for a mission that involved the main character having sex as a reward. The offending material was subsequently removed.
Do you think the proposed shakeup to our classification system gets the balance right? Let us know in the comments section below.