Aussie R18+ draft guidelines released

Proposed new adult rating for games allows high violence except where it "offends" community standards; MA15+ tightened to restrict incentive-based nudity, sexual activity.

Last December, the push to introduce an adult rating for games in Australia stalled again, with censorship ministers gathered at the Standing Committee of Attorneys-General (SCAG) delaying their decision until new guidelines could be created to show the impact of an R18+ rating. The draft changes have now been made public, outlining the type of content that could make it as an R18+ title in Australia.

Minister for Home Affairs Brendan O'Connor.

The draft guidelines, which were released by the office of the Federal Minister for Home Affairs Brendan O’Connor, show that the proposed R18+ rating for games would be applied to titles deemed to feature high impact classifiable elements. Under the proposed guidelines, an R18+ rating would allow:

*Virtually no restrictions on themes;
*Violence except where it "offends against the standards of morality, decency, and propriety generally accepted by reasonable adults";
*Implied sexual violence, if justified by context;
*Realistically simulated sexual activity;
*Virtually no restrictions on language; and
*Drug use and nudity are permitted.

The R18+ guides are similar to those that currently exist for film in Australia, except for the caveat that game violence must not offend community standards.

The MA15+ rating for games, too, has been tweaked in the proposal. While most of the guidelines for the rating have been retained, several have been added, including:

*Strong and realistic violence should not be very frequent;
*Sexual activity must not be tied to rewards or incentives;
*Interactive drug use that is detailed and realistic is not permitted; and
*Nudity must not be related to incentives and rewards.

The proposals have already been sighted by Australia's state and territory attorneys-general, who will review the guidelines before making a decision on the introduction of an R18+ rating for games at the next SCAG meeting in early July.

Minister O'Connor--who has staunchly supported an adult rating for games--reiterated the federal government's backing in a press statement, saying that the new classification would help bring Australia into line with other comparable nations.

"This issue has been on the table for many years, without the necessary progress to make change," he said.

Stay tuned to GameSpot AU as we bring you more R18+ news. For more on the issue, visit GameSpot AU's previous coverage.

Written By

Randolph is the managing editor of GameSpot, and needs more time to play games.

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Discussion

62 comments
andytisnt
andytisnt

Just to let everyone know, that most of the games you see which are 18+ are moderated in Australia to meet ma15+ standards, unfortunatly not all games can meet this, ie left for dead 2 and the new mortal kombat. Although these games are 99% the same as their 18+ counterparts. Most parents care no mind in buying their children Ma15+ games in australia, which is rather bad because the games are doing as much damage to them whatever claffication, but with the new arrangment for 18+ games in july it will make parents more aware of the content of the games, this way they will be less inclind purchasing an 18+ game for a 12 year old then a ma15+ game.

Black_Id_Jenova
Black_Id_Jenova

Good luck people in Aussie, as people from my country doesn't affect by those law!! lol~~

ferretshob
ferretshob

What does this mean? That game violence must not offend community standards. The majority of games out now offend someone within the community. why do you think it's taken so long for an R18+ rating to come about?

kierwinyoung
kierwinyoung

yeah! Zealots didn't get their hands at game society!!

Thrall1234
Thrall1234

Where to download this....???? it's seem cool...

Jedilink109
Jedilink109

WOW...does this mean that Aussies will FINALLY be treated like legitimate adults!?!?!?! About frickin time. I can't believe this wasn't ALREADY in place as they have just as much of a right to play all of these games as anyone from anywhere else...as long as they're old enough. :P

PumpkinBoogie
PumpkinBoogie

Hot Damn! Big props to O'Connor for doing the damn thing on helpin' our fellow gamers in Australia finally get the respect they deserve for being a mature enough gaming community and allow them to be able to freely buy the games the see fit. This been a looong time coming! Plus, it's most definitely a warm feeling when you can see politicians that can be open-minded & pro-gamers (fighting for us & not against). Lord knows we need more people like O'Connor in office (all over the world). :)

shibby69r
shibby69r

3 cheers to brendan O'Connor, finally a politician with half a brain in his head, you've got my thumbs up mate

cheater87
cheater87

@ Grim_Reaper007 DNF is uncut in Australia with an M15 rating.

ToRNiO
ToRNiO

w00t! Score 1 for Aussies!

Grim_Reaper007
Grim_Reaper007

Im pretty sure this was made so Duke Nukem Forever would see an unedited release.

shimya
shimya

*salutes the minister*

Daemoroth
Daemoroth

While this is awesome news, I can't help but worry about the "offends against the standards of morality, decency, and propriety generally accepted by reasonable adults" part. If you think about it, shooting someone offends against the standards of morality and is not accepted by reasonable adults, so with that in the conditions for R18+, how would any adult game pass? Fallout? Max Payne? I would really like a bit of clarification on that bit, because I'm sure that's not how it's intended, but some geriatric censor will use that to block almost any game he feels strongly against. I'd prefer less 'opinion-based' rules, and more static measures, but other than that this is excellent!

AceBalls
AceBalls

O'Connor has done pretty darn well to get this happening. I thought at first he was fumbling about, but he's come through with some pretty big punches. Hopefully these AG's will get the full force of this hit and wake up for the first time in their lives.

E-i-N-e
E-i-N-e

I'm pleased with the guidelines, they seem thought out extremely well. Lets just hope they pass however.

Nymphonomicon
Nymphonomicon

What exactly is "justified" "sexual violence"?

ITF-Cho
ITF-Cho

Egads... Australia is finally gonna get with the program?? Mature games... yes, they do exist!

MJ12-Conspiracy
MJ12-Conspiracy

"Sexual activity must not be tied to rewards or incentives" What, and here I thought sexual activity was it's own reward.....

Blown454
Blown454

Maybe the politicians should follow these guide lines next time they make a decision on how much their next pay rise should be. And i mean the standard of morality and decency in reasonable adults guide line of course.

Rottenwood
Rottenwood

I'm trying to figure out which is more problematic here: the fact that video games are held to different standards than other forms of media, or the ridiculously nebulous terms being used ("reasonable adults," "community standards") that make it impossible to enforce any of these guidelines in a logical manner. "Well, I think Fallout is pretty offensive, but this here community of atom-charred, flesh-eating cannibals thinks the game is just fine, so my hands are tied!" If the worst thing your kid is doing is trying to get laid in God of War, I salute you as a parent. Use the same content guidelines as every other form of media, enforce them at the retail and parental level, and let this crap die already.

rat5112
rat5112

I'm sorry, but how does one determine who is or isn't a "generally accepted reasonable adult"?

zidan4000
zidan4000

"Sexual activity must not be tied to rewards or incentives" I immediately remembered God of War when I read this sentence.

pokecharm
pokecharm

I wonder if they enforce these guidelines more in abroad than they do here in the states? I mean, I'm over 18 anyway, but I feel like a lot of kids I know are playing M games, but who's to say how they got their hands on them.

jetstopia
jetstopia

@Mechalon Yeah the violence standards is a bit vague. Wouldn't ALL of the general violent content offend the standards of decency? Shoot someone with a flamethrower in GTA - Offends decency Castrate someone in MH2 - Offends decency Rips (insert body part here) from opponent in MK - Offends decency hmmmmm maybe it's just the way I am looking at it but it seems like we will get nudity/sex/rape/drugs but nothing any more violent than what we have. Mortal Kombat has made a franchise on violence and I want to be involved again but maybe it IS too much... nahhh it's almost Road Runner and the Cyote ACME style

delboywalker
delboywalker

but what about the Most Unlikely game to get past Aussie Censors category in the Awards?

soozi62
soozi62

for God's sake oz govt .. get on with it!!! how long has this saga been playing now?

kangaox
kangaox

Hope this goes thru! Its an insult to be 27 and not to be able to enjoy games how they were made! Well least God of War III never got banned (dont know how if MK did)

loopy_101
loopy_101

Good for them. To celebrate, Rockstar should give out free, uncensored, copies of Manhunt 2 *wink wink nudge nudge* ;)

starduke
starduke

So, the country of assumed children might actually start assuming there are adults who also game? Well, good for them. Hmm, there will still be the social stigma that gaming is just for the kiddies, even though the average age of a gamer is 30+. In the USA having an MA 17+ rating hasn't changed that. Of course, having parents who buy games that have the MA 17+ for their kiddies doesn't help, in more ways then one.

Fandangle
Fandangle

I will believe it when it becomes law

HyperonicX
HyperonicX

Awesomesauce! This is terrific news. I, and pretty much all of us, hope this gets through.

Mechalon
Mechalon

*Violence except where it "offends against the standards of morality, decency, and propriety generally accepted by reasonable adults" Well, looks like Mortal Kombat will remain banned.

raynimrod
raynimrod

I'm glad this is finally getting some serious consideration!

Marka1700
Marka1700

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

jamyskis
jamyskis

Very glad for our friends down under that the powers that be have seen sense and that people will be able to enjoy games in their fullness. The idea of restricting content of a sexual nature normally allowed in the 15+ range to the 18+ range is also not entirely a bad one. As an adult, I like to enjoy games designed for adults as they were designed to be played, but I also take the welfare of minors seriously (cue getting thumbed down by all the kiddies here). Now all we need is for the German government to see sense, but as the censorship authorities here (BPjM, USK etc.) seem to be made up solely of bitter, uninformed old men, I wouldn't count on it happening any time soon.

heartindarkness
heartindarkness

seriously they huv been treating adults like kids for long enough now .....

SicklySunStorm
SicklySunStorm

And not before time. A welcome change for our Aussie friends - congrats guys, you'll get to play some great mature games going forward.

otanikun
otanikun

It's about freaking time the Aussies got what they deserved, it's been a long time coming

Coyful
Coyful

Looks incredibly sensible!

ChaosUndivided
ChaosUndivided

Wow... How they can make something so simple sound so hard. Do they make this much of a fuss when rating movies... Most likely yes. Most people don't care they just want their games. But it only takes a couple of self righteous people who believe they are helping the world to complicate things.

IndianaPwns39
IndianaPwns39

I hope this gets through. The idea of someone telling others what they can or cannot virtually (that being the keyword) experience is complete bull. Good luck Aussies!

Conno08
Conno08

Sounds good to me, bring the gore.

MaxStar360
MaxStar360

This is great news but one thing is bugging me. I just hope that when they say that it can't offend community standards, I hope they consider the WHOLE community and not just those over-zealous parents and religious folk. If they are the only ones that have to object, we will never see any decent R18 games at all. But I worry about this too much...