Australia grows up: video games get the R18+ rating

Gamers in Australia are cheering for a change to the rating system, introducing a much needed R18+ rating for video game titles that are deemed just a tad too adult.

Previously, the rating system only went up to MA15+, making it possible for the government’s rating division – the Classification Board – to refuse classification for titles deemed too violent, too sexual, or involving adult themes such as drug use.

In some of these instances, the video game developers often released special versions of the games for Australians, with the offending bits removed.

EA's Syndicate was refused classification in December 2011 for excessive violence.

Now, after ten years of lobbying by consumers, retailers, and politicians, Australians will have an R18+ rating in video games, with the legislation passing through the Senate this week.

“With an adult rating, we can now can now focus on the wider and more important issues that are impacting our classification system,” said Ron Curry, CEO of the Interactive Games and Entertainment Association.

While the introduction of an R18+ rating is good for the more adult titles being made today, this doesn’t mean that every game will be passed by the Australia’s Classification Board, however, as titles that are deemed beyond the purview of what the R18+ rating encompasses can still be refused classification.

But given that five games were refused classification in the past year in Australia, many of which weren’t changed by the developers to match the Classification board’s standards and were left unreleased, it’s a welcome change.