Gamers on the smallest continent in the world have finally made headway in the fight for freedom of expression in video games. Australian Federal Parliament has approved a rating of R18+ for gaming, which will allow games that have long been banned in the country to be sold at retail. The new rating will come into effect at the start of 2013.
"These are important reforms over 10 years in the making," said Home Affairs Minister Jason Clare to News.com.au. The reform was a bipartisan effort, one that has been contested heavily since 2009 with an open debate offered by the government."
"The R18+ category will inform consumers, parents and retailers about which games are not suitable for minors to play and will prevent minors from purchasing unsuitable material. The reforms also mean that adults are able to choose what games they play within the bounds of the law."
Before the R18+ label, the law effectively meant that games deemed unsuitable for those under the age of 18 were outright banned for sale in the country. Australia's rating system only went as high as to allow games meant for a 15+ rating, nominal to a T rating with the American-based ESRB and a 16 rating for the European-based PEGI system.
"The passage of this bill will no doubt be welcomed by adult gamers all across Australia," added shadow attorney-general George Brandis. "The industry has been waiting for this change for some time."
That change will put all media under a unified set of criteria to be rated and judged, giving gamers a proper shot at enjoying such titles as Left 4 Dead 2, Manhunt, The Witcher 2 and Syndicate, among other well-known titles.