The Australian Federal Government has put a deadline on deciding whether or not to add a “R18+” ratings designation to videogames, following stalled discussions dating back to December of last year. The hope is to reach a consensus by July, after the next attorney generals meeting on the issue in June. Home Affairs minister Brendan O’Connor will push the issue, because in his words,“we’re becoming the laughing stock of the developed world, where we’re the only country that doesn’t have an R18 classification level for video games.” O’Connor told ABC News that he believes their “outdated classification system” is “causing harm to young people” and predicts that “if there is not a consensus around this issue, the Commonwealth will certainly be considering other options”.
Australia is widely known in the gaming world for having a much-maligned ratings system among developers, the reason being that the highest rating level a game can be assigned is “MA15+”. Unfortunately, 15 is still a young age (18 being the legal age for adulthood in the country), and many games that would be inappropriate for someone under the age of 18 have felt the consequences. Games like Left 4 Dead 2 had content that was neutered beyond recognition, and the upcoming Mortal Kombat has been deemed “illegal to sell” due to its violent nature. An R18+ rating could hopefully prevent such restrictive measures from taking place.