Aussies asked to voice opinion on R18+

Long-heralded public consultation process on whether Australia should introduce an adult rating for games commences; federal government releases discussion paper discussing pros and cons of the debate.

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It has been a bad year for Australian gamers when it comes to censorship. Just last week, the upcoming action game Aliens vs. Predator was banned for sale due to its violent nature, with other titles to feel the wrath of the Australian Classification Board in 2009 including the modified Left 4 Dead 2, CrimeCraft, Risen, Necrovision, and Sexy Poker. But after close to 12 months of woe, Aussie gamers will finally be able to voice their opinion directly to the government, with a long-awaited public consultation launched today by the Federal Attorney-General's Department.

The public consultation--which was first announced in April this year--is asking for Australians' opinions on whether the country should introduce an adult R18+ rating for games. Currently, any game deemed by the Classification Board to contain content which is unsuitable for anyone under the age of 15 is refused classification, effectively banning it for sale Down Under. Australians are being asked to download a form from the Federal -General's Web site and fill out a questionnaire outlining their views on the R18+ issue.

The Federal Attorney-General's Department has also released a discussion paper outlining the key arguments for and against an adult game rating for Australia. Some of the key arguments against an R18+ outlined in the discussion paper include that computer games should be treated differently from films given the specific, negative effects of interactivity on players; that parents would face difficulty in enforcing age restrictions for computer games; that minors would be more likely to be exposed to computer games that are unsuitable for them; that an R18+ rating would exacerbate problems associated with access to high-level material in indigenous communities and by other non-English-speaking people; and that there is no demonstrated need to change existing restrictions.

On the pro-R18+ side, arguments contained in the paper include that the R18+ classification category sends a clear, unambiguous message to parents that the game material is unsuitable for minors; that consistent classification categories for films and computer games are easier to understand; that a new classification will supplement technological controls on minors’ access to age-inappropriate computer games; that adults should not be prevented from playing R18+ computer games simply because they are unsuitable for minors; that comparable international classification systems have an adult rating for computer games; and finally, that adults are already able to access restricted games by purchasing or playing them online and that an R18+ rating would actually prevent piracy and illegal importing.

Submissions will close on 28 February 2010. From there, all of Australia's state and federal attorney generals must agree to introduce an R18+ rating before it can be introduced, which may continue to be a major stumbling block given the vocal opposition of South Australian Attorney General Michael Atkinson in the past.

People interested in submitting a response can do so via e-mail, mail, or fax. For full details--including the submission template and the discussion paper--visit http://www.ag.gov.au/gamesclassification.

Discussion

223 comments
Master_JB
Master_JB

This may sound ignorant, but how can people living in a country/continent/what-have you where the very dirt they walk on wants o kill them be such wusses about video games? No offense intended, I just find it curious.

CoD_dude133
CoD_dude133

@Scorchgame yeah the VIC police dont even have handguns we get revolvers! jesus! when Gen Z comes through the workforce all this s*it will probably be over. And Michael Atkinson? just shut the f*ck up! Geez why dont they actually let the parents who are ADULTS make the choices on their children! Kevin Rudd is such a communist wannabe.

Mercadeo
Mercadeo

the people against it say¨that parents would face difficulty in enforcing age restrictions for computer games; that minors would be more likely to be exposed to computer games that are unsuitable for them¨, I wonder how R18 will make that?!!

osiris
osiris

Government too caught up in trying to run the people... Just do it, make sure the proper information is out there, and let the people make their OWN informed decisions. Granted, a lot of bad but well-informed decisions will probably happen, but the government has done its "due diligence". I mean, really, banning a game because they don't have a classification for it? Talk about Big Brother...

mrjoe_94
mrjoe_94

All Michael is causing is more imports and piracy

sooty1987
sooty1987

well i finally got around to posting that letter yesterday. yeah if i knew people in SA ill tell them definately totally NOT to vote for him.

sk21
sk21

Aussie government is a bit too concerned about the ratings systems of video games and movies, instead of prioritizing their attention for things that actually impact the world. It's a bit like the end to 1984.

johnnyauau
johnnyauau

@sooty1987. True but if we go about like gamers going out on a rampage, then Michael would potray us thinking that the game influenced us to be evil people. If you have not heard, next year, there could be an election in South Australia. I'm a Canberran so I can't vote from my end but only South Australians can. In the meantime, they can submit their views before February for now in a formal way. So let Michael Atkinson be a moron because his opposition on R18+ could be his own undoing. Letting adult material go through MA15+ and even cutting out drugs, sex, nudity, controversy and violence issues would be the reason why minors is allowed into the adult game world. His view about "protecting children" is more the opposite that he's "protecting adults" from adult material. You'll understand. It's a lesson about making mistakes and he'll regret it.

sooty1987
sooty1987

@ johnnyauau he'll still be a moron no matter how nice we be about this whole thing

toolified
toolified

"If we don't take action now, then we'll settle for nothing later. If we settle for nothing now, then we'll settle for nothing later!!!" - Rage Against The Machine

Askani2099
Askani2099

I'll be submitting my feelings for sure, but we can forget about actually getting an R18+ rating. michael atkinson will never budge on the subject, no matter how many great points FOR an R18+ rating there are. I'll just continue getting my games from the UK until we do, doesn't change a single thing for me......

Warlord_Irochi
Warlord_Irochi

About time! The aussie system was clearly outdated since i don't know when! Best of luck aussie gamers! ^_^

0bags
0bags

oh forgot if we dont get a R18+ rating we can simple just import the game from the UK or the NZ

0bags
0bags

As an australian gamer im kinda pissed of about how this whole situtation has been blown out off preportion.So im lay down some things. First whats with other australian ruining my chill back rep. Second fellow australians relax and use you minds a little more. Third we should have a R18+ due to the fact that more than 50% of gamers in australia are over 18. Fourth, there have been studies showing that violent games dont = violent childern. And that's about it a think....

ptysau
ptysau

Example: Killzone 2 - UK18+, US M17+... AU MA15+... Having no R18+ rating allows the censors to be more lenient on ratings depending on how much revenue is at stake. How can a game like MW2, which showcases a mass bloody slaughter of civilians without a proper plot explanation get a MA15+ and L4D2, which basically has people shooting "dead" targets is originally banned?.. It feels like there are more factors at work than just morals.

johnnyauau
johnnyauau

I probably shouldn't say this so I'll give one last message: Whatever you do, don't throw in hate mail or threatening emails to Michael Atkinson anymore. Purely because it will fuel more of his reason to keep it at an MA15+ rating. That also applies to submission comments. Aussie gamers should be known as well nice people. If you don't heed my advice, Michael can use that to push his agenda to show that gamers can be evil so look at the R18+ features to learn how to be more formal in your views. International gamers, I like your continue support on this. Sometimes there could be negative comments going on but I wouldn't really care. So I thank them for that. Just be careful once you send your message that everyone's going to read, it has to sound nice and positive to read. That happened to me so I'm careful about what I'm going to say in my comments.

Scorchgame
Scorchgame

My Opinion: FU CK THE AU GOVERNMENT, actually Australia is very behind in everything really. The police is very sh!t here. Come here, get robbed, and wait 2 days for the police to START to check everything (not even everything, they check sh!t). Therefore 18+ has never been available.

francoislr
francoislr

And the Aussies call the English winging Poms. All they seem to do is cry about everything! Just put the darn R18+ on it and go on as usual.

Fat_Boy_Skinny
Fat_Boy_Skinny

lol to all saying dont like ur country move out i think moving out of a country is gnna be hard,getting a loan,finding a house ect

Valas_Azuviir
Valas_Azuviir

@ thanksbrain Seems you misunderstood what I meant to say. I know that Atkinson can vote against it and thus block it. Let him do so. It'll probably be the final nail in his political career. Democracy has become a bit of a buzzword as of late. And here's this chosen politician who subsequently ignores the wishes of the majority of the people, because of his own personal beliefs. His opponent in the next election will be able to eviscerate him with his no vote. Make him look unreliable, who's more interested in his own personal views, rather than what Australians want or voted for. And if those aggrieved by his actions also vote against him, in the next election.. 1 + 1 = Atkinson going bye bye.

Guardian_zzr
Guardian_zzr

honestly, im not holding my breath for this one... its funny how australia wants to be more like america yet things like change takes forever.... what happen to freedom of choice? voilent movies, sex scene and drug use can be shown on tv, thats fine with public... yet volient games cant be played?.. let me understand this... you see on the news and on the streets how kids are smoking, using drugs, and drinking at younger age what do you think r18+ rating really going to do to them? younger people these days only have to surf the web to come across r18+ material... switch on the tv late at night... look parents cant shelter kids their whole life, instead of complaining about this, how about locking up their console if you think the game too much for them? what ever happened to your rules under your roof? parents should start taking responsabilty

Guardian_zzr
Guardian_zzr

if parents have time to complain about the r18+ rating, why dont they complain a little less and start spending the time taking care of their kids...

H0rr0rG4m3r
H0rr0rG4m3r

OH JUST GIVE US THE F***** R +18...why are we still talking now, JUST GIVE US IT ALREADY!!

Guardian_zzr
Guardian_zzr

basically the way the goverment should look at this, is were all adults18+ theres no point in trying to censorship everything... if your afraid of kids being subjected to these type of 18+ games, then you should also ban alcohol from every store and bar, stop selling cigs at every milk bar and shopping center... like seriously, what happen to freedom? and having a choice? for the govenment, you might not like what out there, but instead of trying fighting this how about going with it and making guildlines where you can make it safe for these kids... like your not stupid enough to sell cig to little kids, doesnt mean your going to stop selling cigs, have the same out look to it... instead of just selling the games, have guild line where you need proof of age... or download content where you need a credit card or something where kids cant have access.... honestly get with the times

Taevataat
Taevataat

I live in America and all I have to say is: Come on Aussies! Get that R18+ rating, finally!

TheJetplane
TheJetplane

"That parents would face difficulty in enforcing age restrictions for computer games; that minors would be more likely to be exposed to computer games that are unsuitable for them." Um, are parents utter idiots that have no idea what their children are doing? I mean, seriously, if the government needed to pass a law to make up for such awful parenting, than Australia would have way worse youth problems to worry about...

otanikun
otanikun

I don't see how my comment offended anybody but seriously, this needs to be passed, it would make a lot of people down under very happy to know that their government isn't baby sitting the adult population by regulating the types of games that are clearly made for adult entertainment in the first place.

fatpumba3
fatpumba3

I don't believe in an R18+ rating simply because I think most 15 year olds can cope with violence perfectly fine unless they are little mummy's boys who are sheltered from all violent or slightly sexual content. Seriously people under 18 are way too sheltered from the real world some day if something violent or traumatizing happens 15 year olds who played violent video games could cope better without panicking as much and in my opinion it is actually healthy for people of 15-18 years to experience some sort of violence one way or another let's be realistic here.

Twitchy_Man
Twitchy_Man

Although it is good to have our opinions voiced. In the long run I don't think it will have much effect on Atkinson. He seems to be very unreasonable on the topic. Either way I will be getting AvP even if i have to duct tape it to a person from China across the border.

darkcomedian
darkcomedian

I would laugh if the day after they finally make an R 18+ rating, Australia goes into chaos, people start getting in groups of four, shooting each other in the streets yelling "pills here!" and "hang on a sec, I gotta heal!"

thanksbrain
thanksbrain

@Valas_Azuviir p1r4t8r is right. If you read the conditions of approval ALL must vote for the change of classification. Unfortunately Atkinson could still be the thorn in our sides.

hman1111
hman1111

You go Aussies! Don't let those @$$holes push you around

rockatanski
rockatanski

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

oneligas
oneligas

Ahhh, the slow as a snail process of democracy, if they don't change it so Australians can get these games i hope the US invades and liberates the oppressed people of Australia!

karnis
karnis

pretty stupid rating system but R18+ makes more sense

cantor2537
cantor2537

as long as this doesn't carry over to North America I'm fine. Keep your own weirdo politicians, banning appropriate games even for us older folks.

LordAsher
LordAsher

Way to go my brothers Down Under! You're finally getting the opportunity to change your government, or at the least your ratings systems. If you guys want it bad enough, fight for it, the other gamers out here are right behind you all! Good luck!

brendanhunt1
brendanhunt1

so violent video games are banned because its bad for children, steve irwin is a much better role model. (R.I.P)

DPhunkT
DPhunkT

Don't like your countries rules? Then move out.

Johny_47
Johny_47

Power To The People! =D hahaha, speak up aussies I can't hear you... louder! shout it out - you want violent games! hahahaha, hope you win.

Valas_Azuviir
Valas_Azuviir

@ p1r4t8r Let Atkinson vote against it, after a majority of those partaking of the consultation have said otherwise. That's going to do wonders for his re-election campaign, as his opponent will be able to paint his as being undemocratic, close minded, a religious zealot etc etc. The usual political mudslinging, only in this case, it'll have a basis in fact.

SilverWolf10
SilverWolf10

We sorely need an R rating for games. I'm sick and tired of hearing about a game only to see our out-dated classification system send it to game limbo while in the meanwhile games that should have an R rating are pushed over into M ratings where idiot parents buy them for their children. I see it time and time again, parents buying games like gta4 for a bloody 8 year old and being told it's ma 15+ and then saying "oh I don't care, it's for him not me". Please bring in an R rating to bash some sense into these morons!.

Darthmatt
Darthmatt

I say, if this is such a big deal for the Aussie government, punish the children who play adult games, not the adults.

Fusion_Master
Fusion_Master

Upon reading through the Discussion Paper, I'm failing to understand how the majority of the 'negative' points raised are relevant to the paper. Almost every single one somehow mentions children and last time I checked, things that require you to be 18 (Alcohol, Cigarettes) means you MUST show I.D in order to purchase the material, which I trust would be the same case with R18+ games. As such, unless parents choose to purchase the material for their children, their children wont be getting the games. This discussion paper is in relevance to people 18 or older. I'm sick of this whole 'WOULD SOMEONE PLEASE THINK OF THE CHILDREN' attitude. Take care of your own kids and there will be no issues.

crossaxe
crossaxe

oh and sooty1987 thats because it is probably uk copy and it is 18+ over there i have most of the hitmans and they r MA

Microwin
Microwin

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

crossaxe
crossaxe

this could makee things easier now i can just ask a relative or friend over 18 to buy an R game 4 me rather than having to buy it online although i just think they should open all content to15 yr olds like me anyway if ur not mature enough now u probably wont be when ur 18