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.
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.

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Avatar image for 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...

Avatar image for supertegwyn

I like it.

Avatar image for SuprSaiyanRockr

Sounds good. I hope it goes through.

Avatar image for TurambarGS

I'd call this great progress. Those guidelines are more or less what I'd expect to see. The MA15+ additions were inevitable - especially as preventing minors from getting access to mature content has been a catch cry of the R18+ campaign to date. It remains to be seen if these guidelines are going to be acceptable by the Attorneys General though. Can only hope that good sense wins out.

Avatar image for johnnyauau

It's inevitable that after 20 years, this is the price we have to pay when R18+ games are restricted down to MA15+ games, for what reason? Think of the children? I welcome the guideline changes as long as common sense is involved and less politically motivated. Anti R18+ game campaigners should learn to accept what is MA15+ and R18+, learn that it's not the parents or the governments fault and stop relying on useless scientific evidence, to the point of denial if they haven't educate themselves about this classification system.

Avatar image for lemonliam13

This sucks for people like me though. I just turned 15 a week ago, dont get a chance to play the games i have wanted to play since i was 9, and now i have to wait another 3 year. im sure its great for anyone over 18 though

Avatar image for edpeterson

I'm glad they're considering this, hopefully it'll pass so the people in Australia can play some good games :D

Avatar image for NColdhardt

Great news for people in Australia.

Avatar image for ksdlass

It's funny cos Australia allows all violent games with nudity/sexual references somewhere in the game, but is totally against violent games without any sexual themes in it.

Avatar image for AcidBlood83

What are 'community standards' when it comes to violence? Would the new Mortal Kombat still be RC (I think it's OK, but I know people who wouldn't)? Or is the line much more towards graphic torture / sexual violence? Either way good to see progress being made and the MA15+ rating being narrowed, way too many games getting into that category due to a lack of R18+.

Avatar image for hippiesanta

australia... I love you... if you need more violent games... just fly to asia your next neighbour

Avatar image for cuz660

Yes, but my erection still hurts and the doctor said it won't go down for another three hours.

Avatar image for The_OnionKnight

It's nice progress after many bumps, hopefully all the other pieces will fall into place.

Avatar image for RegalHogweed

I was expecting much worse. Good job I suppose. I just hope this finally works.

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