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

Posted in

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.

 
Forgot your password?
Username :
Password :

Poll

Which Feminist Frequency video are you looking forward to most?:

Shout box

You're not permitted to post shouts.
Wonderkarpgot my Reading Rainbow kickstarter rewards....I cant tell if this is a sticker or a bumper sticker.01/30/2015 - 5:38pm
Goth_SkunkAs such, the first playthrough is always going to be the most evocative.01/30/2015 - 3:47pm
Goth_SkunkSo while branching storyline is hallmarked as a feature of the game, the storyline never stays branched for too long. There is a linear story that may branch at points, but each branch always comes right back to the main line further down the road.01/30/2015 - 3:46pm
Goth_SkunkMy biggest gripe about it though would have to be that its replay value sucks. I quickly learned that apart from a few key decisions you make, most choices end up not being relevant because something terrible happens anyway.01/30/2015 - 3:45pm
Goth_SkunkI *love* The Walking Dead. Like I said, I played Season 1 through in one go, and subsequently pre-purchased Season 2 in its entirety sight-unseen.01/30/2015 - 3:43pm
Andrew EisenBy the by, I take it you're a fan of Telltale's Walking Dead? I'm one of the very few who really doesn't like it. Bums me out.01/30/2015 - 3:39pm
Andrew EisenI think we're safe with stuff like Life is Strange, Resident Evil: Revelations 2, and TellTale's games. I was thinking more along the lines of D4. It's genuinely up in the air whether we'll get a conclusion to that story or not.01/30/2015 - 3:33pm
Goth_SkunkUltimately, from this potentially ignorant perspective, it's the gamer who assumes the risk, not the developer. I don't approve. Fortunately, I'm only paying $5 (CDN, no less), so that's money I can easily write off if I'm disappointed.01/30/2015 - 3:32pm
Goth_SkunkIf I'm wrong, and the unthinkable should happen where the developer ends up aborting production of the rest of the episodes, bundle purchasers would be understandably upset. Even moreso if attempting to get a refund turns out to be a hassle.01/30/2015 - 3:30pm
Goth_SkunkThere is an option on XBL to purchase all episodes in a bundle. Pay full price now, get the rest of the episodes as they're released. I would like to think this means that the other episodes are in fact done and ready.01/30/2015 - 3:29pm
Andrew EisenCatch 22 sometimes. Some gamers don't want to buy it if there's no guarantee the whole thing will come out and the whole thing can't come out unless enough people buy the early installments.01/30/2015 - 3:17pm
Goth_SkunkI sincerely hope this trend towards episodic games is not done so because the developer only had enough capital to produce the first 1/5th of the story and is banking on making enough money from the sales of that fifth to produce the rest.01/30/2015 - 3:16pm
Goth_SkunkThat being said, I want to try Life is Strange to get my feet wet.01/30/2015 - 3:13pm
Andrew EisenI'm that way too. I'll wait until the whole thing is out. Same goes for DVDs of TV shows. I'll wait for the season set.01/30/2015 - 3:13pm
Goth_SkunkIf an episodic game is really good, and the time between episodes is more than a week, I'm more inclined to wait for the rest of the episodes to all come out than to try playing it episode by episode at launch date.01/30/2015 - 3:12pm
Goth_SkunkAs someone who played through TWD Season 1 entirely in one day, and then played Season 2 episode by episode when they each came out, I strongly agree with this sentiment.01/30/2015 - 3:11pm
Goth_SkunkFrom what I've been hearing, people haven't been buying it because they're sick of episodic games where they have to wait 6 weeks or more between episodes and they'd rather just wait for the whole thing to come out at once.01/30/2015 - 3:10pm
Andrew EisenNot sure what GamerGate could do to dissuade people from buying a game they'd otherwise be interested in or why it would even want to but I agree, I think the premise is interesting and look forward to learning more about how it actually plays.01/30/2015 - 2:58pm
Goth_SkunkAnd for what it's worth, I saw Life is Strange advertised today on XBL, and the premise looks very, very intriguing. I'm going to buy it today and give it a shot.01/30/2015 - 2:42pm
Goth_SkunkI'm hearing rumours that the recently released game Life is Strange is not selling very well on Steam, and that GamerGate is being blamed as a result. It's just a rumour though.01/30/2015 - 2:42pm
 

Be Heard - Contact Your Politician