Australia introduces R18+ certificate for games

New classification expected in "a couple of months", allows for more explicit content

The Australian federal government will introduce an R18+ classification for video games, Gamespot AU reports.

The country's ministers gathered at the Standing Committee of Attorneys-General (SCAG) meeting in Adelaide to bring the long-running issue to a close.

Eight of Australia' nine territories agreed to introduce the new classification pending the approval of the proposed R18+ guidelines. Only New South Wales abstained from the vote, claiming that further discussion with its cabinet is required.

Federal minister for home affairs Brendan O'Connor announced that the classification would be introduced at a federal level, and that the process would only take "a couple of months."

"This is a big step forward in the long-running debate on classification of computer games for adults," he said.

"Once introduced, the classification will afford adults the opportunity to view material designed for adults. It is a credit to all jurisdictions that the meeting has now been able to achieve agreement over what is a complex matter in classification policy."

Australia has long been known for its tough stance on video games, effectively banning a number of high profile releases due to the absence of an adult age classification. However, the R18+ guidelines allow for more explicit language, violence and depictions of sexual acts.

The new rating will be welcomed by the Australian development community, which recently benefitted from the introduction of research and development tax credits.

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Latest comments (11)

Adam Campbell Studying Games Technology, City University London7 years ago
Finally emerging from the dark ages..
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Kingman Cheng Illustrator and Animator 7 years ago
About time!
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Took long enough.
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Show all comments (11)
Terence Gage Freelance writer 7 years ago
Finally! Are all those 'banned' games going to get released posthumously then, because Aussie gamers who didn't import have a lot of catching up to do?!
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Jake Clayton7 years ago
This article doesn't really clarify that the attorney general vote with an 8/9 didn't pass the legislation, and that it's being passed at a federal level regardless of the oppinion of the new south wales attorney general.
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Tony Johns7 years ago
There are still things that could go wrong.

But it is a long way forward compared to other things that still need to happen in this country.

But it is a good chance compared to the possibility of Gay Marridge that still requires the approval from the Prime Minister.

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Tony Johns7 years ago
All we need now is for the X18+ to come in with the R18+ rating for games, and then the rating process would be complete.

But as hard as it was to get the R18 rating in, I seriously don't think the X18 rating would happen until a few more decades to come.

I will be voting for the Australian Sex Party or moving out of Australia and into Japan just to get to play the games I want to play.

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Jamie Watson Studying Bachelor of Games & Interactive Entertainment, Queensland University of Technology7 years ago

now to wait for the day i see a R18 game on the shelf of my local game shop!
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Shane Sweeney Academic 7 years ago
As I understand it, (and maybe an American can clarify) but American retailers like EB Games and wall-mart refuse to stock an 18+ games, wouldn't it be funny if Australian retailers followed.
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Alfonso Sexto Lead Tester, Ubisoft Germany7 years ago
Awesome! about time! :)

(On other bad news... as a age rating specialist in my compnay I'll have to update my Age Rating Guide :S)
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Curt Sampson Sofware Developer 7 years ago
Shane, the more-or-less equivalent American rating is the ESRB M (17+) rating, not the AO (Adults Only; 18+) rating. The highest rating Australia currently has is MA15+. M was the ESRB rating given to, for example, Mortal Kombat, which is banned in Australia.

M-rated games are stocked pretty much anywhere. AO-rated games are extremely rare, and never found for consoles as the manufacturers forbid them; that's also the rating that most retailers won't stock.

Edited 3 times. Last edit by Curt Sampson on 26th July 2011 9:23am

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