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Australia's R18+ Rating Becomes Law

It's long past time that Australia acknowledges that video games aren't just for kids.

The Land Down Under has finally introduced the long-awaited R18+ ratings category for games. It passed the federal parliament without amendment, which effectively turns the new adult rating into official federal legislation. It'll be more like our ESRB ratings now (seen to the right of the article).

The bill went into parliament in February thanks to Federal Minister for Home Affairs and Minister for Justice Jason Clare. And since passing the Senate, it is now a law. Said Clare:

"These are important reforms over 10 years in the making. The R18+ category will inform consumers, parents and retailers about which games are not suitable for minors to play, and will prevent minors from purchasing unsuitable material. The reforms also mean that adults are able to choose what games they play within the bounds of the law."

However, this doesn't mean they'll just sit back and slap the R18+ label on anything that deserves it; they also want to pass a "complementary legislation" to insure that all such titles are "appropriately regulated." Also, just because it's a law now doesn't mean it's immediate; the national R18+ rating for games goes into effect on January 1, 2013.

Tags: video games, gaming industry, game ratings, australia game ratings

6/18/2012 10:00:08 AM Ben Dutka

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Comments (21 posts)

Kevin5
Monday, June 18, 2012 @ 10:12:24 AM
Reply

As an Australian.

**** yeah!!

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YashaZz
Monday, June 18, 2012 @ 5:42:06 PM

Yes! Yes! *M.Bison's voice*

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Dancemachine55
Monday, June 18, 2012 @ 10:51:01 AM
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Finally!! About bloody time we Aussies got a fair go in the video game department!!

But seriously...

The state governments still have final say over what to do with R18+ games, so should South Australia still want nothing to do with R rated games, they can still prevent them from being sold in the state. But with many states supporting the classification, the 1 or 2 that don't will kinda be forced to or else face a huge public outcry.

This is great news for adult gamers! This means that GTA V will be the first GTA game in Australia to receive the adult rating, be released unedited and not be for sale to teenagers!! This hopefully means less annoying teens screaming online and less violent prebuscents!!

I just hope that Ultimate Mortal Kombat and Left 4 Dead 2 GOTY Edition and maybe Syndicate will be resubmitted to the classification board by 2013, cos I know a lot of people who wanted to play any of those games but didn't bother with importing since the Feds were cracking down on illegal games and cranking out fines everywhere.

Personally, I'm just glad this whole debacle is finally over. It feels like a giant sigh of relief has been breathed by all adult Aussie gamers.

Here's hoping Dead Space 3 will be unedited. Dead Space 1 and 2 removed the blood splattering on Isaac's suit after frequent attacks. GTA always had prostitutes and blood pooling and limb dismemberment removed. I won't even touch Left 4 Dead 2's changes. The game was ruined in Australia.

Bring on 2013!! R18+ games will finally sit in my collection!! :)

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Dancemachine55
Monday, June 18, 2012 @ 11:02:06 AM

Just want to add, many were concerned that this new classification would just mean games getting bumped up from MA15+ to R18+ with many of the titles I listed above remaining banned. This IS NOT the case.

A report, outline, guideline of the R18+ classification stated that games with high levels of violence, drug use, strong sex scenes and nudity will be accepted under an R rating. MA only allowed medium level violence, drug references (not use) and sexual references but not explicit sex scenes.

Any game depicting sexualised violence will remain banned in Australia, like Rapelay. Honestly, I'm fine with that, games like that just disgust me anyway. Mainstream titles like Mortal Kombat, Left 4 Dead and Syndicate will no longer be banned from 2013 onwards.

So no need to worry. An R18+ rating will give adults of Australia what they want in mature video games.

I hope all this explains the Aussie situation clearly to our worldwide PSXextreme friends. Am happy to answer any questions too, for those curious about our long time running wacky classification system. :)

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Kevin5
Monday, June 18, 2012 @ 11:02:41 AM

It won't really matter if states like Adelaide don't allow the black sticker because noone in Aus really, truthfully cares about what happens in Adelaide :) Not only that but if that were the case, then S.A gamers don't have to worry about importing & can just buy from another state. So all is good.

I'm rapt with this news but i am also cautious. This still won't stop me from buying overseas due to price but not only that. Games can still be banned here, this new rating is basically to push games like Dead Space out of their current categories & into the rating they belong in.

I won't be punching the air just yet until the first true adult game (GTAV?) gets through with the rating, uncut.

But yes, this is a good sign & a leg in the right direction.

PS: Tell your buddies there is nothing to worry about with customs taking games away. Alot fell for that reeking dead trout because Gamespot posted an article on it & kotaku licked up the sloppy crumbs like gimps that was being spoon fed to them.

I got MK among others just fine, your mates shouldn't have any problems either. If they really want MK get them to create a US PSN account & they can download the full game off the store without the concern of some bored group of bogans going all tits up about a disc full of naughty pixel violence getting through the censors.

Last edited by Kevin5 on 6/18/2012 11:04:48 AM

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Dancemachine55
Monday, June 18, 2012 @ 11:23:05 AM

@Kevin5

Yeah, I got my copy of Mortal Kombat on PS3 without any problems as well. Great game! Solid fighting mechanics.

Oh, and I know 2 people whose copies of MK were caught in customs and they got a $1500 fine, so it's not just a tall tale written up by journalists at Gamespot.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Monday, June 18, 2012 @ 3:42:16 PM

$1500! I wouldn't pay that.

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___________
Tuesday, June 19, 2012 @ 6:27:19 AM

funny story actually.
i imported the tournament edition for mortal kombat, and when i opened it i saw it had been opened.
i saw a card in there saying it was opened by customs blah blah blah so i knew they opened it so i would not ring the seller and say hey what gives.
as soon as i saw that card i thought oh sh*t im gonna get the fine.
........... nope!
however a friend of mine, well, was not so lucky.......
however he took it to court and the site he bought it from the idiots slapped a MA 15+ rating on it so he argued he did not know it was banned, and that he thought it was rated MA and he got off.
mighty ape do that all the time, they did it and i think still have a MA rating on syndicate and the vita version of MK.

im a little sceptical of how things will go on from here though, this does not promise games like GTA and L4D wont be banned.
im really worried about sleeping dogs getting banned, cant remember where i read it but apparently its being heavily edited here because its suppose to be really gory.
like shoving a guys face into a duct fan gory!
ouch..........

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WorldEndsWithMe
Monday, June 18, 2012 @ 11:19:16 AM
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Glad our Australian friends are on a track to freedom of gaming. It's amazing how governments grow up much more slowly than their people.

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Dancemachine55
Monday, June 18, 2012 @ 11:26:28 AM

Governments have to cater to the lowest, or most ignorant and biased, of common denominators. Religious groups and vocal parents tend to be the biggest influences on the government, which is unfortunate for the rest of us who don't fall in those categories, or do but disagree with their arguments against popular and interactive media.

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YashaZz
Monday, June 18, 2012 @ 5:42:59 PM

Thanks American mate.

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Underdog15
Tuesday, June 19, 2012 @ 8:56:01 AM

What about the religiously vocal? lol

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Dancemachine55
Monday, June 18, 2012 @ 11:31:15 AM
Reply

And on that note, since it's 2:30 in the morning here in Australia at the time of this post, I'll read and respond to comments in about 8 or 9 hours. ;)

See you in the morning PSXE!! :)

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Axe99
Monday, June 18, 2012 @ 5:27:21 PM
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What Kevin and Dancemachine said :). As a well-over 18 Aussie, it's great that our Gaming Industry has caught up with the rest of the developed world, and we'll have access to adult content without having to run the risk of getting done by customs. Happy dance :).

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BikerSaint
Monday, June 18, 2012 @ 7:00:04 PM
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"Congrats Australia"

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ffyfe7
Monday, June 18, 2012 @ 11:13:59 PM
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This is fantastic news, it has taken way too long to get to this point.

I'm hoping that South Australia decides to support the decision because I live in Adelaide and I'm pretty sure we'd be none to happy to get this far and then for that to happen. Although, with Michael Atkinson no longer the Attorney General of South Australia it should be fine.

All things considered I would have to say that this has restored some of my faith in the Australian Government...some.

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StevieRV
Tuesday, June 19, 2012 @ 12:11:51 AM
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as much as i want R18 here is Oz, apparently multiple states have said they would never pass on R18 ratings, meaning we are still a fair ways off actually seeing R18 games in our local stores Australia wide

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Lawless SXE
Tuesday, June 19, 2012 @ 4:52:05 AM
Reply

And about damn time too!

So... uh, no more b*tching about censorship? Damn, I'm gonna miss that :/

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___________
Tuesday, June 19, 2012 @ 6:19:55 AM
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AUSTRALIA, F*CK YEAH!
now never thought id be saying that..........
just one step in a long, LONG line of steps to get us up to world standards!
next step ISPs and price gouging we have to put up with!
i almost fainted when we went to Hawaii just over a year ago, 2 days before we left i bought a new laptop to take with me and a new TV my D series bravia crapped out on me after only 13 months!
typical $ony!
than one day while there we went into sears and saw the exact same laptop and TV i bought for less than HALF of what i recently spent on it!
HALF!
another perfect example allot of collectors editions get marked up so much here.
KZ3 hig edition US 100, AU TWO FIFTY!

than theres the ridiculous pricing for ISPs and the stupid limitations that come with it.
cant believe the bandwidths companies give these days!
not to mention telstra use to be the only ones who counted uploads towards your monthly usage, now everyone does it!
instead of getting better and more readily available, its getting worse!

as the saying goes, one small step for man.
one, errrr, *tiny* leap for man kind!

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___________
Tuesday, June 19, 2012 @ 7:48:09 AM
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one other thing i think we really need to do is make certain content restricted to certain audiences.
MA content should be restricted to 15 and over as the title says, not oh a irresponsible parent says its ok for their 12 year old to play it so its fine.

M the same thing but make it 13 and above.
NOTHING pisses me off more than when you go to the movies to watch a scary movie and theres babies in their!
NOTHING!
when i went to go see prometheus there was like 10 babies in their the whole movie screaming their lungs out!
parents who take their babies to horror movies should be thrown in jail for reckless endangerment and their kids taken away from them.
yea it damages the kids, but i seriously doubt as much as being a few months, or years old and seeing aliens rip humans to pieces!
amazing you cant be 100 and blow a zombies head off in L4D2, but you can be 2 years old and watch a movie like prometheus.
only in australia, thats all ill say!

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Nerull
Tuesday, June 19, 2012 @ 6:08:01 PM
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Congrats on your patience guys.
As long as it doesn't end up like the AO rating which is never used thanks to the Walmarts and EB game's refusal of them.

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