Gamers overwhelm Australian ratings inquiry
Age rating public consultation inundated with "enthusiast" submissions
The Australian government has received 55,000 submissions as part of its public consultation concerning the introduction of a restricted 18+ age rating for videogames.
The consultation was announced in late 2009, with Australian citizens being asked to submit their views before a February 28, 2010 deadline. In order to rally support the "Grow Up Australia" campaign was launched, with prominent support from retail chain EB Games.
Although Australia has an 18+ age rating for films and DVDs, the highest rating for video games is 15+. This has led to games which would receive the highest rating in other Western countries being either severely censored before release or refused classification.
An AAP report suggests that the government has been "flooded" with submissions from "videogame enthusiasts", with home affairs minister Brendan O'Connor admitting that there was a high level of interest in the issue.
As well as notoriously game sceptic South Australian Attorney-General Michael Atkinson, the campaign has also faced criticism from the Australian Christian Lobby, who are quoted as claiming that: "We believe that gaming industry claims that such a link is unproven are reminiscent of the tactics of tobacco companies in questioning the link between smoking and lung cancer."
A report based on the findings of the public consultation will now be prepared for the Standing Committee of the Attorneys General, with the subject likely to come up at the next meeting of state and territory attorneys-general.