In an exclusive editorial written for GameIndustry.biz, EA Games label president Frank Gibeau calls Australia's lack of an 18+ rating for games in the region a form of censorship against adult players. Australia has a ratings system for games that is capped at the 15+ mark, which means that 18+ content is not allowed. To get in stores, developers and publishers are forced to make serious changes to meet the standards of the lower rating. Gibeau says that this is unfair to mature players, who are forced to play content that has been watered down or completely altered for the wrong audience.
"There is also a real danger that by not supporting the local development community, Australia will miss out in the growth of the medium and detract investment in the region," argues Gibeau.
The thrust of his argument is detailed in this particular paragraph:
A government policy that keeps our mature games out of stores and forces developers to rewrite code is censorship. It also forces lesser quality games into that marketplace, often stripped of their intended content and features. What will be next? Will adults be forced to see edited versions of mature films? Read books with certain chapters removed? As policy measures increase restrictions on available content, so too will consumers increase the practice of parallel imports from neighboring or same-language markets, depriving their home country economy of the associated industry revenue.
Gibeau closes with an appeal for accelerated action by the Autralian government:
A change in the Australian age rating system is needed. We call on the Attorneys General in their next general session to vote unanimously in favour of the introduction of an 18+ rating for videogames to allow adults to make their own choices about the entertainment they choose to enjoy. The implementation of a new 18+ age rating classification is the right step for consumers, and for the industry, in Australia.
Read the whole thing here.