In an unexpected move, at least one Target Australia store has taken it upon itself to replace the display packaging for video games that have received an R18+ classification by the Australian Classification Board.
Legislation making provision for an R18+ video game classification passed through the Australian Parliament back in 2012 before coming into effect on 1 January 2013. However, the legislation made no stipulation regarding the box art or packaging for R18+ video games.
However, plain packaging is not a foreign concept in Australia. Since late 2012, it has been a legal requirement that all tobacco products sold in the country be plainly packaged. Aside from the brand name in a nondescript font, tobacco packaging has been completely devoid of fancy logos with artwork replaced by graphic images depicting potential health problems associated with smoking.
After an initial photo taken by NeoGAF user nephilimdj, Kotaku Australia managed to narrow down that this was a non-standard display, prompting Target Australia to contact the store in question to make the necessary corrections. However, the store itself indicated that it would continue the practice in accordance with state legislation concerning plain packaging of restricted content. This is despite the corresponding laws being introduced in 2010, several years before an R18+ rating came into existence for video games.
Historically, Target Australia has not been a stranger to media attention with respect to digital entertainment products. As recently as 2014, the company pulled Grand Theft Auto V from its shelves after former sex workers launched a petition on Change.org which gained nearly 49,000 supporters.
However, this situation does raise the question as to whether or not plain packaging for R18+ video games, or similarly rated games elsewhere in the world, could be of actual merit.