With the Australian R18+ debate moving ahead in leaps and bounds, the local states and territories are starting to climb onboard with the idea, with the Australian Capital Territory being the first to act.
ACT Attorney-General Simon Corbell explains:
The ACT will be the first jurisdiction to progress a bill giving effect to the Commonwealth’s decision to implement the R18+ category in Australia.
Despite reports to the contrary, this doesn’t really mean much for Canberra residents now, but it does mean that the ACT will be prepared when the R18+ amended legislation comes into force on January 1, 2013. All other states and territories need to take similar action.
This is part of a national reform that will allow adult gamers to view R18+ material in the same way that can already be done for film and printed material.
But at the same time it will also provide protection to parents and children by giving parents better guidance about what material is and is not appropriate for people under the age of 18.
While this is great news for Aussie gamers, the local industry – via the Interactive Games and Entertainment Association – believes the new laws don’t quite go far enough in terms of addressing the issues facing video games.
That said, Ron Curry says it’s a great start:
We can look down and go ‘hey, what’s that big black sticker, that’s telling me that this content isn’t appropriate!
Even though they may not be able to have that online, at least there’s that recognition, at least there’s a way of going out and finding out if this product is acceptable for your child or not.
Once the amended legislation is put in place and implemented across the country, violent video games will not be given a free pass. Games currently rated MA15+ may be resubmitted and given a higher, adults-only rating. At the same time, games currently Refused Classification (effectively banned), may be resubmitted and given a new R18+ sticker enabling the game to be sold, displayed and advertised in Australia. Neither of these two actions will be automatic or guaranteed, and any resubmission actions are at the discretion of the game’s publisher or local disributor.