In Australia: R-rating for Games Under Government Review

Game banning may soon be a thing of the past in Australia.

As reported by The Age, government officials Down Under are considering adding a new video game rating, R18+. Currently, the rating system in use by Australia’s Office of Film and Literature Classification tops out at MA15+. This means that any game with content deemed too strong for a 15-year-old is refused classification – essentially banned.

From The Age report:

A spokeswoman for the Minister for Home Affairs, Bob Debus, confirmed the issue of “whether or not to allow an R18+ classification” for games would be discussed at the next Standing Committee of Attorneys-General meeting on March 28.

The games industry has long argued that the censorship regime is unnecessarily draconian and prevents adults from making their own decisions about the type of content they consume.

The Age cites video game industry research which shows that the average age of gamers in Australia is 28, with more than half of gamers 18 or older.

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  1. 0
    Steve-o says:

    About time. We’re clearly not children, and if Australia can happily stock its shelves with UNRATED copies of the Hostel and Saw movies, why must games be limited to 15 year olds?

    So long as they enforce the rating (how can you enforce something that is “unrated” is beyond me) by requiring ID for games sold with the R rating – and if needs be, confirming with any adult purchasing the game that it is as much an offence to give the game to a minor as it is to buy them cigarettes or booze, then there is no reason to continue to ban them. Hell, give a kid a bank account, and they’re smart enough to set up PayPal, an eBay account and import the uncut/banned games themselves.

  2. 0
    FlyingArab says:

    Quote “Ever since they elected a new prime minister, things are getting better downunder.
    First the apology for the aboriginals, now this (Ofcourse, nowhere near the same level, but still) “

    Too true mate, since Rud has come in, things are looking bright for Aus. Hopefuly he continues his good streak and helps us with the R Rated games.

  3. 0
    Codeninja says:

    You shouldn’t be hard on OFLC – they’ve actually supported this move for a long time. Them and anyone else with common-sense and has actually read the rating system laws – which point out that the lack of 18+ rating is criminal by it’s own definition.

    But you should be relentlessly unmerciful on Atkinson. He’s a total dick. And a criminal, by the definition of the board of which he is a member of.

    Been passionately supporting this. Good to see justification – so soon too, as to why the public kicked Howard out. Still amazing some people think this was a bad move. They’ll come around eventually.

  4. 0
    lumi ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Ooh, good luck, Aussies! I hope this goes through, having the final cutoff at 15 has always struck me as, well, “unnecessarily draconian”.

  5. 0
    TBoneTony ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    “# blackwell Says:
    February 25th, 2008 at 2:15 am

    We also have a christian Attorney General in the South Australian state government. His name is Michael Atkinson and he’s opposed this before though.”

    I guess we can kiss this goodbye if that guy is still in his position in SA…

    It is a shame really, I hope things change soon and no one will listen to what that SA Attorney General has to say….

    But in all needs, I am willing to accept the result that no matter what the OFLC tries to do, it is still at the mercy of the few IGNORANT state Attorney Generals

  6. 0
    Grog ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    “…the average age of gamers in Australia is 28, with more than half of gamers 18 or older.”

    By average, I assume they are using something other than mean otherwise the following would also be true.

    …the average age of gamers in Australia is 28, with more than half of gamers 27 or older.

  7. 0
    jarrod ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    about bloody time mate, as an Aussie, i have been waiting for this for quite a while, this law should have come into place a long time ago, though it wont help me much till next yr though as i just turned 17. i hope this law passes through.

    @The_Peacemaker: the PM stated that there will be no compensation for the Aboriginals

  8. 0
    Grizz says:

    National Classification Code
    1. Classification decisions are to give effect, as far as possible, to the following
    (a) adults should be able to read, hear and see what they want;

    Given this information, shoudln’t we ALREADY have a rating above MA15+? It’s only further in the Act that they start putting restrictions on what we, as Australian adults, can read, hear and see…

    It is really about time that we had a R18+ for games, as many of the other Western countries already have something similar in place. The UK has R18+, America has NC17, Europe has an 18+ rating as well, so WHY OH WHY are we so behind our Western “brothers” when it comes to game clissification?

  9. 0
    Chris says:

    @ Conejo. we get away with language? What language do we get away with exactly?

    And finally. This has only recently started applying to me, being 19, but even before then i hated it. Censorship at times can be absolutely ridiculous. In this country in paticular.

    Whats wrong with this picture. 18+ games bad, rove Macmanus good

  10. 0
    Oz ( User Karma: 0 ) says:


    No but we do have a christian prime minister that may block it.

    Rudd has done more good in 2 months than Howard in over a decade, but he IS a christian and may expose himself of being a closet social conservative (In australia it’s the “Liberal Party” that are actually right wing consevatives (false advertising) and the Labor Party being centre left.

    Oh and on the X18+ thing, that like R does not exist for games. Pitty coz I live in Canberra 😉

  11. 0
    TBoneTony ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    I hope there are no Christian Atterney Generals that will say “Jesus does not allow for R rated games”

    But I doubt things will change…I think I did a little bit in my essay on this topic last year.

    If things do change, there is still the X18+ rating that is banned everywhere except for Canberra and the NT in Australia

  12. 0
    Mythor ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Even if by some miracle these changes do get past the Attorneys-General, it does not actually mean “no more banned games” only that it will happen with much less regularity.
    If you check the OFLC website, right up the top it has the scale of ratings available – and R18+ is not the highest, X18+ is the highest available. That is generally for outright, explicit, pornographic content.

    Any game that is deemed to need a rating higher than R18+ will still be Refused Classification.

    All that said, there’s at last some tiny ray of hope that gamers might finally be treated as the adults the majority of us are.
    But it’s only a tiny ray of hope… The new Government is more liberal than the Liberals, but they’re still mostly a bunch of old dudes with views to match. I’m not holding my breath.

  13. 0
    draino says:

    Too little too late. I have already decided to import all my games and consoles (due to country specific distribution and) because of the banning that is in place to this day, which is what this article/thread is all about. Steam seems to be the only hope to get games that would not normaly come into this country. Something of which the government will probably never be able to do.

  14. 0
    Asmo ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Well, any movement forward is progress, we may actually have a chance to get this content in Aus for ADULTS who want to enjoy ADULT games.

    Asmo, a 32 year old Australian gamer.. =)

  15. 0
    Black Patriot ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    I suppose i can cut the new Labor Government some slack, if this turns out to be true…

    Still, it’s a step in the right direction, provided the major console manufacturers support an R rating for video games, they have been very hostile to the AO rating in the US so I’m not holding my breath…

  16. 0
    GregoriusH says:

    Wow, this really made my morning. But it probably still won’t happen. My understanding is that only one Attorney-General needs to say “Nope” and nothing will go forward. Considering that most state politicians here are unintelligible Luddites I don’t like the chances.

  17. 0
    Tiki says:

    About time… though perhaps it’s a little early to be getting one’s hopes up? (I hope so, though, since if *this* government doesn’t support an R18+ rating then there’s not very much hope for the next 10-20 years in Australia…)

    @The-Peacemaker: A handful of disaffected Aborigines have started suing for compensation, but it’s hard to tell how significant that is, since the media completely lost interest about three days after the apology.

    @Twixn: Not to get too involved here, but I’m going to go out on a limb and say that even with the risk of litigation, and whatever else, the apology was definitely a politically good call. It’s got to have *some* positive effect on indigenous relations, not to mention how effectively it demonised the Opposition in the public eye.

  18. 0
    Twixn says:

    @DoggySpew: We’ll see. Prime Minister Rudd is somehwhat of a ‘yes-man’, pandering to the public with policies that are most likely un-economical. Although I will admit that he is the only half-decent Labour leader in years, the last 10 years of Labour leaders were just horrible, thats why the never got elected.

    @The-Peacemaker: From what I understand as soon as Rudd announced that he was going to say sorry, the Aboriginals lawyered up. Thats why the previous governement refused to do it, one: because it would cause a law suit and two: because they aren’t personally responsible.

    @The topic: Well its about time. A rating’s board can only be described as sub-standard if it effectively bans content because it cant rate it.

  19. 0
    The_Peacemaker says:

    @DoggySpew and anyone else who knows

    Im curious, do you happen to know how the aboriginals responded to the apology? I don’t follow Aussie politics much any more and I was wondering how they took it. I think they deserved it for the treat they received but I was scared that a move like that would put the Aussie government at risk for a law suit.

    @Australia, if this idea gets through

    Good on ya mate.

  20. 0
    DoggySpew ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Ever since they elected a new prime minister, things are getting better downunder.
    First the apology for the aboriginals, now this (Ofcourse, nowhere near the same level, but still)

  21. 0
    Brandon ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Hopefully this will come to pass, and hopefully it’ll actually get used and not end up like the AO rating over here, where if it gets rated R, it won’t get released.

  22. 0
    Conejo ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    with how much language they get away with on their television, i’m honestly shocked they censor anything.

    hopefully they’ll fix this hole in logic.

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