New South Wales is the second Australian state to introduce laws surrounding R18+ video games, following ACT’s lead last month. The new laws are about what you’d expect, making it an offense for retailers to sell games rated R18+ to minors – just the same as films.
[img_big]center,8443,2011-11-01/syndicate_coop_final01-watermarked.jpg,Games like Syndicate could be granted an R18+ rating instead of Refused Classification[/img_big]
Greg Smith, the NSW Attorney-General is thinking of two key groups:
This is a victory for adult gamers and a victory for parents who want to protect their children from computer games with unsuitable content.
He explains the new ruling will protect minors from material “that is likely to harm or disturb them”, and hopes the new R18+ rating will prevent violent video games from sneaking into the lower MA15+ category.
The new classification guidelines are already copping plenty of abuse from gamers, who feel the R18+ rating is simply a rebrand of the existing MA15+, with games still judged more harshly than films due to their interactive content.
The new federal guidelines – and the R18+ rating – will come into effect on January 1st, 2013, but each Australian state and territory must decide individually how it would like to implement the rules. South Australia’s plans to scrap the MA15+ rating have been scrapped themselves, with state Attorney-General John Rau announcing this week that he no longer sees an issue with the R18+ rating.