NEWS - Monday, February 25, 2008

Australia to finally receive 18-rating?

The Australian federal government has admitted that it is to consider an R-rating for videogames, roughly the equivalent of an 18-rating in the UK, which could pave the way for some of the more adult titles to ship in the country.

Currently the highest age restriction a game can receive is an MA-rating, which is a 15-plus certificate, and while the R-rating does exist for films, any title deemed inappropriate for an MA-rating is refused classification.

Lobbying for the MA-rating to be expanded to videogames has been ongoing for several years, highlighted by a number of banned titles in the past which have been released elsewhere without trouble, but now a spokeswoman for Home Affairs minister Bob Debus has said that the move could finally be on the cards.

According to ABC News the move wouldn’t be popular with the Australian Family Association, which believes that explicit videogames are potentially more dangerous than films because of their interactivity.

"We’re concerned about the level of violence and so on in R-rated material," said a spokesperson. "But in terms of the games, it seems that there’s a lot more scope to actually change people’s brain structure and their attitudes with games."

Meanwhile in the UK the Byron Report, released toward the end of March, is expected to recommend a stronger ratings system for videogames backed by UK law.



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