It will still be a while before we start seeing the stickers on store shelves, but the long-awaited R18+ category for videogames is now officially part of Australia's National Classification Code, having come into effect nationally from January 1st 2013.
The new rating does not apply retroactively, so only games actually submitted for classification (or re-submitted) from the beginning of this year will wind up in the new category.
New South Wales, The ACT, South Australia, Victoria, Western Australia, Tasmania, and the Northern Territory have passed legislation to govern the proof-of-age sale restrictions and penalties, but Queensland is still going through the motions, with the QLD Attorney-General's office recently confirming that "This means R18+ computer games cannot be publicly demonstrated, made, or sold until the law is amended in Queensland". The QLD State Government is expected to revisit the matter in February following a mandatory committee review process, but it is generally expected that they should still have things sorted before the first R18+ rated games hit Australia shelves.
Players hoping for recently refused classification games such as Syndicate or Mortal Kombat to finally see local release, or games like Left 4 Dead 2 to now be uncensored are likely to be disappointed, as that would require their publishers to formally submit the games for reclassifaction and wear the costs associated with that process. Even then it's possible that they would still be RC'd as the new R18+ category is not significantly more lenient than the former MA15+ tag.
We'll start to get a better idea of what this means for Australia's adult gamers once the first R18+ ratings are declared by the Australian Classification Board.
This is a different view on the impact in QLD: Queensland Set To Miss R18+ Deadline. tl;dr:
Since Australia has previously had no R18+ rating for video games there is absolutely nothing in current legislation that prohibits the sale of R18+ games. Retailers are forbidden from selling ‘unclassified’ video games but, in this case, the games will be classified — they’ll be classified under an R18+ rating that simply isn’t referenced in any legislation. This means that R18+ games can be sold, but there is literally no law to manage that process — no details on punishment for sale to minors, no set rules on how the games can be displayed. Nothing.
I love porn flash games, can walk straight past Australian censors with my middle finger held proudly high. I honestly don't know many Australian businesses that will benefit from this cause I've already established my favourite overseas companies to by my games from.
I'm sure some of my fellow Australians will feel the urge to go looking for deals in Australian but I doubt very much that this change will help to make prices for games more competitive here. The fact that only 3 states are prepared for this the day the change takes place is testimony to how self infatuated our politicians have become.
I love porn flash games, can walk straight past Australian censors with my middle finger held proudly high.
You are a national hero.
Seeing as you're in Germany, you shouldn't mention "Nationalism" :P
It's OK, I'm pretty sure the Stasi aren't listening anymore... :|
Yeah the Germans are surprisingly liberal these days.
Its a trap!
Syndicate (the 2012 one) was terrible anyway. Why would anyone care if that ever came out over here?
I enjoyed it
i'm guessing that god of war game coming out soon will be the first R rated game.
Even then it's possible that they would still be RC'd as the new R18+ category is not significantly more lenient than the former MA15+ tag.
This is interesting. The criteria may be similar to MA15+, but IMO at least it gives the classification board a little bit of room to move. The test will be how upcoming big titles get classified here when they're rated PEGI 18 or ESRB M & AO overseas.
The test will be how upcoming big titles get classified here when they're rated PEGI 18 or ESRB M & AO overseas.
I've been concerned about this for some time, the ACL all but stopped their campaign when they were assured that the changes simply bumped MA to R, and that the type of material previously classified RC wouldn't have any better chance of being sold.
I suspect that we've been hoodwinked, but the proof will be in the pudding. For me, if a game like mortal kombat or LFD2 is made RC (basically any game that is just graphically violent and not a rape / drug abuse simulator) in the new regime then nothing has changed.
that's what i've been afraid of ever since the announcement. they even stated in the announcement that games may have more of an impact than movies etc, even though there's evidence to the contrary.