Australia should introduce R18+ game classification, says EA president

EA Games president Frank Gibeau believes that the Australian government should introduce an R18+ classification for video games, as the lack of a rating higher than 16 "effectively censor[s] entertainment choices for adults."

Writing in an editorial published on GamesIndustry.biz, Gibeau says that the current classifications in Australia shows a poor understanding of an entertainment medium where the average age of the consumer is 28.

He wrote, "Government policies that don't allow for the rating of mature content in videogames effectively censor entertainment choices for adults. These policies show a poor understanding of today's videogaming audience. Existing legislation in Australia that limits age ratings of games to 16 demonstrates a distance between those policies and the reality of the videogame industry and the people that play interactive games in Australia today."

Gibeau continues by pointing out that the effective censorship of video games in Australia is also potentially harming growth of the industry in the country. "As the Australian government moves to participate in the economy of the global gaming market, policy makers should consider the environment they create for game makers," he writes, "Governments that design policies hostile to game developers and their creative medium will struggle to attract investment from the global industry.

"The implementation of a new 18+ age rating classification is the right step for consumers, and for the industry, in Australia."

It is understood via 1UP that all attorneys-general in Australia must agree to the introduction of an R18+ classification for it to be implemented. Unfortunately South Australia attorney-general Michael Atkinson has previously blocked attempts to introduce an R18+ classification. In an email statement sent to GameSpot in early 2009, Atkinson said, "I don't support the introduction of an R18+ rating for electronic games, chiefly because it will greatly increase the risk of children and vulnerable adults being exposed to damaging images and messages."

With the resignation of Atkinson earlier this year, Australian gamers will now look to his replacement - John Rau - for the introduction of an adult classification for video games. Although Rau was reported to be pro-R18+, he has since said he currently has no stance on introducing an R18+ rating, but will "listen to the arguments" as he is "not aware of the relevant factors."

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Can I also say that recently the government released a discussion paper on the issue of there being a "R 18+" game rating, today its being reported that results show overwhelming support for an R 18+ so I suppose its only a matter of time till one is introduced.

treemonster said,
i feel bad for adult gamers in australia.

I feel bad for people that game in general in Australia, like wth is up with their systems?

Thanks to Microsoft when my 360 red ringed. I got sent back a new 360 which wasn't regional locked, found out when I was replaying the GTA IV story lined and notice some missions that weren't on the Aussie version and other blood and gore was awesome.

I'm beginning to really hope next time Rudd goes overseas, he just doesn't come back.

Ciggies. $17/Pack
Grog keeps going up
No R18
Wants to censor the net

I HATE YOU RUDD!!

Same here, now his milking the mining company's even more. The way his going this country will be a third world country before the next election.

after watching q&A, im hoping the gov will listen.... after all the pov's on censorship you would think that conroy would look listen and lets hope that john rau makes an educated choice and not just a prude view ie.atkinson......

Although Rau was reported to be pro-R18+, he has since said he currently has no stance on introducing an R18+ rating, but will "listen to the arguments" as he is "not aware of the relevant factors."
That's a promising start when someone admits they don't know it all.

Ryoken said,
That's a promising start when someone admits they don't know it all.
I wish more people in positions of power would do the same.

Guys you have to think of the children. This EA scumbag is just sick of having to tone down his games because we still have standards morals

Osiris said,
Guys you have to think of the children. This EA scumbag is just sick of having to tone down his games because we still have standards morals

I'm not quite sure what you're getting at... its not like the children will be playing these games, and if they somewhow get them from thier parents then it is the parents fault is it not? Why not let adults have thier games, what harm is it actually doing?

danisflying527 said,

I'm not quite sure what you're getting at... its not like the children will be playing these games, and if they somewhow get them from thier parents then it is the parents fault is it not? Why not let adults have thier games, what harm is it actually doing?

+1

Should we ban alcohol too because underage kids drink it? Parents should be more responsible of their children.

Arggghhhh, Stephen Coroy is on tele right at this minute. God he speaks like a retard and that's a compliment.

Edit: Why do people who have no knowledge of the internet try and act that they do? It puzzles me.

Edited by Billus, May 10 2010, 11:27am :

Billus said,

+1
Arggghhhh, Stephen Coroy is on tele right at this minute. God he speaks like a retard and that's a compliment.

I lol'ed coz its so true. If I saw him on the street id seriously hospitalise him for even wanting this filter to go through. What a knob.

danisflying527 said,
I'm not quite sure what you're getting at... its not like the children will be playing these games, and if they somewhow get them from thier parents then it is the parents fault is it not?
Worth adding that you can import or pirate these games anyway so even if they were on store shelves kids have access to them. Customs usually has more important things to do than scan video games and check their ratings, at least from my experience.

So with the system in it's current state, what happens to material that is classed as an 18+ in other countries? Does Australia just give the material it's highest rating (16?) or does the material get banned?

Intrinsica said,
So with the system in it's current state, what happens to material that is classed as an 18+ in other countries? Does Australia just give the material it's highest rating (16?) or does the material get banned?

If it doesnt pass classification, ie its an 18+ game, it is banned.

It gets reviewed here by the board and it either
a) Gets passed as an M15+ title, unedited (Alien Vs Predator here passed after appeal)
b) Gets refused classification which is effectively a ban.


In case B a publisher can then edit the game and resubmit it in order to address the concerns of the board or attempt to just resubmit it unedited as a means of appeal to get a second look. As I mentioned in point A, this happened with Aliens Vs Predator I believe this/last year some time and the initial decision was overthrown without any modification to the game.


The game may also just not get published here too. But no, we don't just borrow the rating from other countries...theres a review process that we have which can turn out different results to different countries. It's also a bit of a black hole...some games get pulled up for their violence (L4D2) where something like fallout has the ability to dismember people largely ignored where drug use got targeted instead. It's a big issue with the system here...it's completely inconsistent.

Smigit said,
It's also a bit of a black hole...some games get pulled up for their violence (L4D2) where something like fallout has the ability to dismember people largely ignored where drug use got targeted instead.
The worst part is (when talking about Fallout 3) that the censorship of AU effected all versions of the game, in all countries. Also with L4D2 if someone with a AU or German version of the game joins a game you are in some weapons and uncommon infected are blocked from spawning.

This is complete bull****.

Edited by necrosis, May 10 2010, 1:20pm :

Yeah the L4D2 one is a bit of a joke. I think Valve got lazy to be honest and in order to ship the game at the same time gave us some rather odd cut backs. I doubt they had to cut it back as far as they did.


Can't blame them completely mind you but they could have done a better job at it. Hopefully if the law does change they will upload the uncensored version without the need to hack around it.

Edited by Smigit, May 11 2010, 2:00am :

Movies have an R 18+ rating, but games don't, this causes problems with a parent's perception of video game content, because an uneducated parent might assume that a video game with a MA 15+ game might have similar content to a MA 15+ movie.

In actual fact the content in the video game could be worse than an equivalently rated movie because in order to classify the game they'll put it in the MA 15+ rating due to a lack of a higher rating.

Therefore I believe that a lack of R 18+ ratings is most likely resulting in more exposure to this so called "damaging" content because of parents' lack of education.

If I had the time I'd research or find some facts to support my opinion but I am positive that the evidence would already exist somewhere.

Well, even if John Rau isn't educated on the matter, it's good he admits as such and is willing to hear both sides of the argument to make a rational decision rather then just take on the assumptions of the former attorney-general.

wow "vulnerable adults", WTH talk about a nanny state. I can understand the desire to protect the children, but let adults make their own decisions.

macrosslover said,
wow "vulnerable adults", WTH talk about a nanny state. I can understand the desire to protect the children, but let adults make their own decisions.

Tell me about it. It's like the alcohol and cigarette tax to "protect" our health and the internet filter to "protect"....something. Complete garbage.

Billus said,

Tell me about it. It's like the alcohol and cigarette tax to "protect" our health and the internet filter to "protect"....something. Complete garbage.

Exactly!

Billus said,

Tell me about it. It's like the alcohol and cigarette tax to "protect" our health and the internet filter to "protect"....something. Complete garbage.

Tax the **** out of alcohol and cigarettes. They both put a strain on healthcare. Neither of them have positive effects on society. I do agree that adult decisions should be left up to the adults, not the government.

Edited by The Guru Network, May 10 2010, 12:22pm :

dogmai said,

Tax the **** out of alcohol and cigarettes. They both put a strain on healthcare. Neither of them have positive effects on society. I do agree that adult decisions should be left up to the adults, not the government.

This of course completely ignoring the point that cigarettes, pokies and booze all bring in large quantities of tax dollars. The tax dollars these bring in is thought to outweigh the negative externalities you associate with these things. Any tax from games does not rate a drop in the ocean compared to the tax on these items.

Also voters get annoyed when the price of cigarettes (less of them now to care), booze and gambling increases, therefore they will avoid doing it. Gamers though you guys dont even warrant any alternative policies from another party to try and win over your votes and this is an election year.

Thats just the way it goes.

dogmai said,

Tax the **** out of alcohol and cigarettes. They both put a strain on healthcare. Neither of them have positive effects on society. I do agree that adult decisions should be left up to the adults, not the government.

That's complete garbage, obesity puts the biggest strain but you don't see a tax on fast food now do you?

Billus said,

That's complete garbage, obesity puts the biggest strain but you don't see a tax on fast food now do you?

I know it's off topic, but the thing with cigarettes and alcohol is that they can affect other people negatively, not just those who choose to consume them. Second and third hand smoke, as well as drunk driving accidents come to mind.

Back on topic, I agree with EA on this. I recall people complaining of games getting banned or censored over there just because of the rating system. Left 4 Dead 2 comes to mind.

Edited by NeoTrunks, May 10 2010, 1:48pm :

Billus said,

That's complete garbage, obesity puts the biggest strain but you don't see a tax on fast food now do you?

He didn't say it was the biggest, now did he? Both obesity and alcohol/drugs are negative to the health of any nation.

dogmai said,

Tax the **** out of alcohol and cigarettes. They both put a strain on healthcare. Neither of them have positive effects on society. I do agree that adult decisions should be left up to the adults, not the government.


Actually, alcohol has been shown to have health benefits if consumed moderately.

rheostat said,

Actually, alcohol has been shown to have health benefits if consumed moderately.

moderately... and thats the problem, every single person will have a different view on MODERATION, personally i think people shouldn't drink much (maybe because i hate the taste and don't see the benefits?) at all while others think its ok to drink once even twice a day. its all opinion.