Final Australian R18+ Guidelines Released

November 4, 2011 -

The final guidelines for the new r18+ games rating classification have been released by the Australian government (thanks to Cheater87). Federal Minister for Home Affairs Brendan O'Connor also announced that all of the states have signed off on these new guidelines. The guidelines, made public this week, finally explain the important parts of the R18+ rating, and show changes to the existing MA15+ rating.

"The major changes in the final guidelines are to do with violence and coarse language," O'Connor told GameSpot AU. "Games with strong violence and aggressive strong language are no longer permitted in MA15+."

O'Connor also said that any game containing sexual violence would be "automatically refused classification," an obvious response to NSW Attorney General Greg Smith's recent comments in the media. O'Connor made it clear that he agrees with Smith on this particular topic.

While the R18+ rating did not make it into the 2011 legislative schedule, O'Connor promises to introduce it in the February 2012 session, where it will likely be made official.

"I am confident we'll have R18+ passed in the first few months of next year. I know some people are concerned about the time but it's been going on for a decade, and we've made great progress. Everyone is working towards legislating for change."

After R18+ is introduced by parliament, O'Connor says that the Classification Board of Australia will have immediate powers to begin classifying games as R18+, and will also have the power to re-classify any past games that were rated in the MA15+ category.

"Normally, games can only be considered for re-classification after two years," O’Connor said. "It's up to the Classification Board whether they want to re-classify those games. I think people know that there are some games now that are rated MA15+ that should be re-classified, but I am not going to name any."

The criteria for an MA15+ game (as provided by GameSpot) will now be:

THEMES:
The treatment of strong themes should be justified by the context.

VIOLENCE:
Violence should be justified by the context.
Strong and realistic violence should not be frequent or unduly repetitive.
Sexual violence may be implies, if non-interactive and justified by the content.

SEX:
Sexual activity may be implied.
Sexual activity must not be related to incentives or rewards.

LANGUAGE:
Strong coarse language may be used.
Aggressive or strong coarse language should be infrequent, and not exploitative or offensive.

DRUG USE:
Drug use should be justified by the context.
Drug use related to incentives or rewards is not permitted.
Interactive illicit or prescribed drug use is not permitted.

NUDITY:
Nudity should be justified by the context.
Nudity must not be related to incentives or rewards.

The criteria for an R18+ game will now be:

THEMES:
There are virtually no restrictions on the treatment of themes.

VIOLENCE:
Violence is permitted. High impact violence that is, in context, frequently gratuitous, exploitative and offensive to a reasonable adult will not be permitted.
Sexual violence may be implied, if non-interactive and justified by context.

SEX:
Sexual activity may be realistically simulated. The general rule is "simulation, yes—the real thing, no".

LANGUAGE:
There are virtually no restrictions on language.

DRUG USE:
Drug use is permitted
Drug use related to incentives and rewards is not permitted.

NUDITY:
Nudity is permitted.

Source: GameSpot

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Comments

Re: Final Australian R18+ Guidelines Released

There's going to be quite a few games that will still get passed over because of this. The first I can think of off the top of my head would be The Witcher 2.

Some of this is largely up to interpretation and biased objectivity. Who defines what the difference between simulated sex and "the real thing" is? I'm going to assume this isn't the full legal details because, as it stands, it's far too ambiguous to stand for. It doesn't cover any proper definitions at all.

On top of this, "guidelines" would be a very bad term for these "rules". A guideline is a recommendation of what not to do, not an order.

Re: Final Australian R18+ Guidelines Released

This... is horrendous! They basically made 18+ what was a lot of the 15+, now 15+ is even worse, and there are still a lot of things that will not pass under this. This is NOT an improvement, it's only giving more weapons to the other side.

Re: Final Australian R18+ Guidelines Released

Not good enough.

In fact, flat-out "not good" period.  Kind of the opposite of good, in fact.  Crap, one might say.

 

Andrew Eisen

Re: Final Australian R18+ Guidelines Released

The new guideline are, more or less, in line with the existing R18+ ratings for film, with the exceptions being repeated and gratuitous high level violence and issues of interactivity.

THEMES

There are virtually no restrictions on the treatment of themes.


VIOLENCE
Violence is permitted.

Sexual violence may be implied, if justified by context.

SEX
Sexual activity may be realistically simulated.  The general rule is
“simulation, yes – the real thing, no”.

LANGUAGE
There are virtually no restrictions on language.

DRUG USE
Drug use is permitted.

NUDITY
Nudity is permitted.

Also it bears mentioning that classifications in Australia are basically self assessed, with a representative of the publisher presenting what they believe are the most relevant facts/scenes in the submission, along with any context.

Re: Final Australian R18+ Guidelines Released

I gotta say, it's good that Parliament recognizes that games aren't just for kids anymore.  There's quite the market for the adult demographic, and I applaud them for taking the right steps to fix that double standard.

 

I know we're still a ways out from seeing these ratings come to fruition, but I'm happy that they are making progress.

Re: Final Australian R18+ Guidelines Released

One thing to note is that this attitude is coming about after Atkinson left office.

 
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