The Australian Federal Government has released draft guidelines for a new video game classification system which adds an R18+ rating and keeps the MA15+ rating. Some politicians in Australia, like South Australian Attorney General John Rau, have said that in order to add an R18+ rating to the system the MA15+ rating would need to be eliminated from the ratings system.
The new 16-page draft proposal (found here in PDF format) released by home minister Brendan O'Connor simply adds an R18+ classification and defines the descriptors for sex, drug and alcohol use, and violence in detail.
According to the draft, the R18+ rating would not put a restriction on themes, but would use community standards for morality "generally accepted by reasonable adults." On the topic of sex - which is usually a briar patch for politicians when it comes to entertainment - the draft says that sexual situations may be simulated, but a real sexual act may not be included.
"This issue has been on the table for many years, without the necessary progress to make a change, said O'Conner. "We’ve recently seen several states publicly express their support for an adult only rating for games and I’m keen to reach a unanimous decision at the July meeting."
Will the July SCAG meeting finally see an R18+ ratings classification approved by the Australian government? We are not sure, and we're waiting to hear what opponents of such a rating think of this new draft. In order for it to become the law of the land all of the MP's for various territories in Australia have to vote yes.
We will continue to follow this story as it develops, but it is good to hear that someone in the government is still pushing for a change in the video games ratings system.
Source: Gamasutra by way of E. Zachary Knight