Game Ratings in Australia

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Game Ratings in Australia

Postby Antony » Thu 28 Apr, 2011 10:31 pm

At time of post, here in Australia, there's no R18+ rating for video games, which means games fall into 5 classifications:
  • E (Exampt from classification)
  • G (General)
  • PG (Parental guidance recommended)
  • M (Recommended for mature audiences)
  • MA15+ (Mature Accompanied)
Where as MA15+ is legally restricted, in terms of video games, it means only suitable for people age 15 or over.

There is an R18+ rating for films but not video games, which means for any video games fall over the MA15+ classification is automatically RC (Refused classification) in other word, banned.

The problems?
Many video games in R18 category overseas aren't available in Australia.
Also, some games rated R18 in other countries are rated MA15+ in Australia (lowering the age limit).

Here's a good news for mature gamers who wish to have wider choices of games, South Australia may be the first state in Australia to have R18+ games. And to make life easier, SA is considering scrapping MA15+ rating.

SA supports R18+ games but only if MA15+ is scrapped (SMH, 29 April 2011)
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Re: Game Ratings in Australia

Postby Mandrake » Sat 30 Apr, 2011 9:30 am

The whole situation is ridiculous. We've got 15 year old adolescents being able to access material like Grand Theft Auto games. I don't think that eliminating the MA15+ rating is a particularly good idea either. There are some games, say Mass Effect 2 or the Uncharted series, that while obviously including violent content, don't really seem serious enough to warrant an R18+ rating.

Every other developed nation in the world has an adult only video game rating. It's such an obvious reform that we really do need.

It allows adults access to a small number of video games that were perhaps not permitted in the past (not that this prevented people from importing or download them). More importantly than that, it ensures that games are properly labeled to ensure that parents are not misled by the MA15+ rating.

There are few lunatics going around (notably Jim Wallace from the Christian Lobby) claiming that this reform will 'open the floodgates' with games like Rape Play, which is blatantly false. There's been the usual complaints about children getting access to games intended for adults too, which is something that an R18+ would help to avoid.

In the end, parents can be assisted in two real ways:

    Parental controls on computer and games consoles (available on modern PCs and Macs and all current consoles)
    A rating system with clear labeling that is easy to understand. (i.e. GTA isn't for your ten old year old kid.). This can be coupled with in store posters etc that retailers can be asked to display. ID checks should be used and strictly enforce as well.

The real difference is going to be made by parents actually parenting what they play. Nothing else has the same impact.
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Re: Game Ratings in Australia

Postby Antony » Fri 22 Jul, 2011 1:36 pm

Finally, there's some progress in this R18+ games in Australia.

ALL states and territories except New South Wales have agreed to introduce an R18+ adult category for computer games.
The agreement came today at a meeting in Adelaide between state and territory attorneys-general and Federal Justice Minister Brendan O'Connor.
Those backing the plan said it would help prevent teenagers and children accessing unsuitable material.
NSW abstained from endorsing the agreement but will consider the proposal.
The plan will allow for some games that now sell with an MA15+ rating to be reclassified as R18+ and only available to adults.
While it endorsed the plan, South Australia will move to abolish the MA15+ category altogether, moving all such games into the R18+ category.
Gamers have spent years lobbying for an adults-only rating, while a national survey of more than 2200 people last year found 80 per cent support for the idea.

...


Read more: After years of debate, R18+ games are getting closer

(Antony lives in New South Wales.)
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Re: Game Ratings in Australia

Postby Antony » Thu 03 Nov, 2011 3:26 am

According to tonight's Seven News (Sydney),
The Attorney-General has opened fire on violent and sexually explicit video games, saying he doesn't just want an R-rated classification, [b]but a complete ban[b]. He says they're offensive and encourage abuse, but players maintain it's all just a little bit of fun.

Americans are pure lucky, not just enjoy the great prices for almost everything particularly in gadgets, also a huge range of selections.
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Re: Game Ratings in Australia

Postby Mandrake » Wed 09 Nov, 2011 2:36 am

Antony wrote:According to tonight's Seven News (Sydney),
The Attorney-General has opened fire on violent and sexually explicit video games, saying he doesn't just want an R-rated classification, [b]but a complete ban[b]. He says they're offensive and encourage abuse, but players maintain it's all just a little bit of fun.

Americans are pure lucky, not just enjoy the great prices for almost everything particularly in gadgets, also a huge range of selections.


You're right. I found this story on Google News. The good news, I suppose, is that because of the way our system is setup a unanimous consensus is required between all of the AG's before any change can be made. This system allows for a single nut-job to keep Australia from a crucial reform that is present in every other democratic first-world nation. That's bad. The positive side is that since a unanimous consensus is required for any change, this idiot won't be able make good on his ridiculous plans to try and ban all violent video games. Sheesh.
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Re: Game Ratings in Australia

Postby Antony » Mon 18 Jun, 2012 10:12 am

Here's the delightful news for all matured Australian gamers - Government has finally passed R18+ category for games.

Australia's classification regime would also now be uniform.

The new law fulfils the Commonwealth's part of a deal with states and territories to include an R18+ rating in the games classification system.
"These are important reforms over 10 years in the making," Home Affairs Minister Jason Clare said.
"The R18+ category will inform consumers, parents and retailers about which games are not suitable for minors to play and will prevent minors from purchasing unsuitable material.
"The reforms also mean that adults are able to choose what games they play within the bounds of the law."
Previously, the highest rating for computer games has been MA15+ meaning overseas adult-only games are usually banned here or given a lower classification allowing children to obtain them.
The new laws bring computer games in line with the classification system for films and other material and make Australia more consistent with international standards.


The new classification scheme is scheduled to commence on 1st January 2013. (It took us a long time to catch up with Don's American world-leading classification scheme. Although popular games are still expected to be available in Don's United States well in advance, but it is less likely to be banned in Australia due to classification.)

news source: Gamers get adults-only R18+ classification (19 June 2012, news.com.au)
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Re: Game Ratings in Australia

Postby Mandrake » Mon 18 Jun, 2012 10:56 pm

This is a sorely needed reform. Just terrific news. :)
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Re: Game Ratings in Australia

Postby DJGM » Wed 20 Jun, 2012 12:24 pm

All video games in the UK have followed the same BBFC ratings as Video/DVD/BluRay, although they'll soon
be moving to the PEGI ratings system. The likes of Saints Row and GTA have always been certificate 18.
Last year's LA Noire was given an 18 certificate, same goes for the latest in the Max Payne series.

BBFC (British Board of Film Classification) ratings:
Image
(12A is for cinemas only, accompanied by an adult. R18 is for explicit material in adult only venues.)

PEGI (Pan European Games Information) Age ratings: 3, 7, 12, 16 and 18.
These ratings are also accompanied by symbols representing the type of content.
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