EFA supports the recently announced move for creation of an R18+ rating category for computer and video games. Currently, only video games which the government deems suitable for a 15-year-old can be sold in Australia, resulting in a censorship regime that is out of line with community standards and expectations.

The issue is to be discussed at the upcoming meeting of the Standing Committee of Attorneys-General on March 28. We encourage the attorneys-general to bring Australia into line with the rest of the developed world, and recognise the fact that adults play games too. Since most gamers are now over 18, there are no compelling reasons why games should be treated any differently to the rest of our entertainment media. Recent research has found the average age of the Australian gamer to be 28.

Although there is widespread support for the move, it is expected that South Australian Attorney-General Michael Atkinson will torpedo the proposal. Changes to the rating system currently require agreement from all state and Commonwealth attorneys-general. That one lone hold-out could prevent such a sensible reform is disappointing. EFA hopes that the South Australian public and the rest of the Committee can persuade Mr Atkinson to see reason.

With games revenues already exceeding movie box-office returns, now is the right time to bring consistency to the nation's classification system. Given the size of the adult gaming audience, it makes sense to bring the rating system in line with movies and television. The public clearly agrees, so this should be a very easy policy win for government and consumers. A 2005 poll found that 88% of Australians surveyed supported an R18+ classification for games.

Parents as always need to monitor their children's entertainment, be it games, movies or the Internet, regardless of any rating system in place. Adults should be as free as possible to decide what is appropriate for themselves as well as their children. Entertainment is a matter of personal taste, and a blanket ban is no longer an appropriate way to deal with this issue.

2 comments

  1. There is a newspaper poll currently on this issue that seems to have been hijacked by the right - http://blogs.theage.com.au/screenplay/archives//0...

    Comment by Kermit on 26 March 2008 at 04:06
  2. I have to agree with you on every point you have made. I am all for an R+18 rating in games, such as what is already in place for movies, because it will allow something very VERY important for a game retail worker like myself e.g.

    Retailers: Hi how are you today. Looking to pick that one you today are you? Well, that's an +18 rated game; show me some I.D. Don't have it? Bad luck sorry you can't buy it then. Why can't you buy it? Because it's illegal for me to sell it to you without seeing your I.D. first, that's why... (end scene)

    Did anybody else see what just happened then?

    The ONLY thing we need, and i do stress ONLY: is to make it illegal to buy a game such as those with R+18 without proper identification - PROBLEM SOLVED

    Now if the South Australian Attorney-General Michael Atkinson can't get THAT through his thick, out-dated skull, then i truly believe our efforts are doomed, as it could not be any simpler

    Comment by Aron on 11 May 2008 at 03:43