Australian R18+ Video Game Rating Coming
As of today, a legislation has passed through the Australian parliament that will eventually allow for R18+ video games it be sold in Australia.
For those who are unaware, Australia does not have an adult rating system (R18+) which in turn means that many games which travel in to that territory of high level violence, sex themes or even drug references are often changed, or even worse, completely banned in the country. Recent games that were banned in Australia include Mortal Kombat, Manhunt and Dark Sector. Left 4 Dead 2, Silent Hill: Homecoming and The Witcher 2 are just a few of the games that had to be edited in order to be sold in the country.
But the ridiculous side of it is that games that would be rated M17+ in the US or 18+ in Europe or the UK are sometimes downgraded to an MA15+ rating in Australia. The rating system is completely out of whack and it actually provides a less cohesive and sensible rating system in the country.
For example, before Fallout 3 was released, the Australian Classification Board refused the game for classification because an item in the game had the real world name, Morphine. Bethesda changed the name of the item to Med-X and the game was then classified in Australia for an MA15+ rating. This meant that people were able to play the extremely violent game in Australia as long as they were at least 15 years of age whereas those in the UK, Germany and Europe had to be 18 years old and those in the US had to be at least 17 years old. The system is completely out of balance in Australia and video games are still treated as products for 'kids', even though the average gamer wanders around the age of 37.
In the past year, the road to an R18+ rating system has been far traversed and its only a matter of time until an adults rating system is put into place and Australia finally 'grows-up.'