Video Games Industry Welcomes In Principle Agreement for R18+ Classification for Computer and Video Games
Sydney, Australia – Friday, 22nd July 2011 – An announcement today by the Home Affairs Minister that the Standing Committee of Attorneys General (SCAG) has reached an in-principle agreement to introduce an R18+ classification for video games is a welcomed step forward.
Ron Curry, CEO of the Interactive Games & Entertainment Association (iGEA), says that today’s outcome is a positive step for the video games industry which has been awaiting an R18+ classification for almost a decade.
“An in-principle agreement for an R18+ classification is a big step towards a robust ratings system that best equips parents to manage their children’s access to appropriate content, as well as enables adults the ability to play games of their choice within the confines of the law,” said Curry.
With eight out of the nine Attorneys-General coming to an in-principle agreement, Curry says he looks forward to discussing the R18+ classification issue with NSW’s Attorney-General Greg Smith who abstained from making a vote today and will consider the issue out of session.
“It is entirely reasonable that each Minister should have taken the necessary time to fully understand the underlying issues and to grasp why Australia so desperately needs an adult classification for video game, and we look forward to entering into a dialogue with NSW Attorney-General Greg Smith.”
“This is the first step in the legislative process and until we can review the final guidelines, we can’t fully assess the impact of an adult rating for games in Australia. We can be confident however that all content will be subjected to stringent classification guidelines and games which exceed an R18+ classification rating will still be refused classification and banned in Australia,” said Curry.
“With an adult rating finally on the horizon, we can now better focus our energy on more relevant discussions around content classification as entertainment formats and content continue to blur.”
The positive news comes off the back of a government-commissioned survey released by Minister of Home Affairs Brendan O’Connor in December last year which found 80 per cent of the 2,226 respondents interviewed support an R18+ rating and that 91 per cent of adults would clearly know that game classified R18+ would be unsuitable for children.
R18+ – Let’s just get this thing done
Have your say on the new Draft Classification Guidelines
The Federal Attorney- General’s Department is inviting feedback on the new Draft Classification Guidelines.
To view the guidelines click here.
To complete the online survey and have your say, click here
Draft R18+ computer game rating guidelines released
The Minister for Justice Brendan O’Connor today released draft guidelines that would support the introduction of an R18+ classification for computer games.
The draft guidelines have been distributed to State and Territory Classification Ministers to assist in their decision making ahead of a meeting in July to decide whether to create the new rating.
“The Gillard Government wants to provide better guidance for parents and remove unsuitable material from children and teenagers,” Mr O’Connor said.
“The introduction of an R18+ classification will help achieve that and will also bring Australia into line with comparable nations,” he said.
“This issue has been on the table for many years, without the necessary progress to make a change.
“We’ve recently seen several states publicly express their support for an adult only rating for games and I’m keen to reach a unanimous decision at the July meeting,” Mr O’Connor said.
Under present legislation, an R18+ classification for computer games can only be introduced with the agreement of all Commonwealth, State and Territory Ministers.
“The draft guidelines make it clear that sexually explicit games or games with very frequent, strong and realistic violence will not be allowed in the MA15+ category,” Mr O’Connor said.
The draft guidelines:
• provide safeguards to restrict the availability of material that is unsuitable for children
• address the difference between films and computer games, especially in terms of interactivity
• ensure that the Refused Classification category is retained.
A national telephone survey by Galaxy last year showed that 80% of the 2,226 people contacted said they support the introduction of an R18+ classification for games.
Those results built on public consultation in which 98% of about 57,000 people supported the introduction of an adult classification.
The draft guidelines were first distributed to Classification Ministers at the last Standing Council of Attorneys General meeting in March, and are now being distributed publicly to facilitate further community feedback.
The draft guidelines are available at www.classification.gov.au. Public feedback will be accepted online until Wednesday 22 June 2011.
Media Adviser: Jayne Stinson 0458 547 512 email@example.com
R18+: Rationality is Dead
Government Threatens R18+ Showdown
As reported at abc.net.au, if there is no agreement to change the rating system for computer games at the next SCAG meeting in July, there could be a wide-ranging shake up of the Classification Act. To read more click here.
July is crunch time for the R18+ decision
Fed Media Release
Minister For Home Affairs And Justice – The Hon Brendan O’Connor MP
Saturday, 5 March 2011
Minister for Justice Brendan O’Connor says July will be the time for Classification Ministers to decide on introducing an R 18+ classification for computer games.
“Australians who’ve been following this debate will know that this issue has been on the table for many years, without the necessary progress to make a change,” Mr O’Connor said.
“Last year the Gillard Government declared its position and it’s time for all States and Territories to declare their hand on this issue.
“The introduction of an R18+ classification for computer games will provide better advice to parents and help prevent children and teenagers from accessing unsuitable material,” he said.
CEO’s thoughts on the banning of Mortal Kombat
The granting of another RC to a video game clearly designed and targeted at ADULTS again highlights the shortcomings of the current classification scheme. In particular, the absence of an adult classification.
As with many other forms of media, there is a demand and place for an adult themed narrative. We trust adults with this material in other media forms, yet deny them similar access simply because it’s a ‘game’. We would not accept the argument that because it’s “unsuitable for a minor to see or play” that it should therefore be banned in any other media form, so why video games?
When a highly anticipated game receives an RC we can expect two things to happen; interest in obtaining the game will actually increase and people will still get the game either through importing (ordering online) or pirating; the latter an encouragement to commit a crime in order to perpetuate the crime of accessing illegal content. Ironically, the game is then widely available in Australia without any identifiable classification markings. How is this informing parents and protecting children?
It is the industry position that an adult classification sends a clear message to the public that the content is not suitable for minors and is the most effective means of guiding access to mature content. Refusing classification of titles that meet adult rating criteria in every other Western country in our digital age is ineffective and naïve.
It is also important to highlight that content that exceeds the guidelines of an R18+ classification, should it be introduced, would still be refused classification and banned in Australia.
Gamespot reveals that an R18+ decision is impossible at March SCAG
As reported today by Laura Parker at Gamespot, the current NSW Attorney-General will not by attending the March SCAG meeting as his Government will be in caretaker mode, pending the NSW State Election. Therefore a decision on R18+ can not be made as it requires unanimous agreement from all State and Territory Attorneys-General. To read the article, click here
Stephen Conroy Supports R18+ for Games Classification
David Ramli over at arnnet.com.au has interviewed Communications Minister, Senator Stephen Conroy and discovered that Senator Conroy strongly supports an R18+ for games in Australia. To read the interview, click here
Kotaku – Classifying the Unclassifiable
Video Games Industry Disappointed by R18+ Classification Continued Delay
Sydney, Australia – Friday, 10th December 2010 – A decision to introduce an R18+ classification for video games has been postponed today following a Standing Committee of Attorneys General (SCAG) meeting in Canberra.
Ron Curry, CEO of the iGEA, says, “It’s disappointing that an adult rating for video games will be delayed once again despite mass support from the Australian community, whether it is from adult gamers who want the right to play games that appeal to them or parents who want clear guidelines for their children.”
We are however pleased that the industry has been given the opportunity to put forward its arguments for an adult rating and encouraged by the tremendous support the issue has received from the Federal Government, and the active engagement by each Attorney General at today’s meeting on the issue. We’re hopeful that the weight of evidence and the comprehensive research into the matter will ensure an adult rating is introduced when the Attorney-Generals reconvene,” said Curry. (more…)
Final Analysis Shows Huge Support For R18+ Computer Game Rating
The Federal Minister for Home Affairs and Justice Brendan O’Connor has released the final analysis of feedback from the public on introducing an R18+ classification for video games. The final report will be tabled at this Friday’s (December 10) meeting of Classification Ministers and will help inform their decision making. More than 58,400 people responded to the call for submissions on the proposed new adult only category.
Of those that responded, 98.4% voiced support for an R18+ computer game classification.
To see the official release and comments, click here
Brendan O’Connor Writes for the Punch on Why the Govt backs an R18+ Rating
The Centre for Independent Studies Publishes an article on R18+
Gillard government advocates for R18+
“We want to provide better guidance for parents and remove unsuitable material from children and teenagers. The introduction of an R18+ classification will help achieve that.”
The announcement comes ahead of Friday’s Standing Committee of Attorneys-General meeting, where Classification Ministers will be asked to make a decision on the issue.
“We believe that this is the right decision for Australian families and the right decision for parents who want to be able to make informed choices about the games their children play.”
“Children and teenagers shouldn’t be exposed to the gratuitous sex, violence and adult themes that are contained in some computer games,” Mr O’Connor said.
“There are dozens of games that are currently classified as MA15+ in Australia, but in other countries these gaming titles are restricted to adults only.
“If the new category is introduced, it could result in computer games that are currently classified MA15+ being reclassified R18+, providing a new level of protection for children.”
“Games that are currently refused classification and do not meet the standard required for R18+ classification will remain in the refused classification category.”
The argument for a new adult classification is backed by research, some of which has been released in recent weeks. (For details visit www.ag.gov.au/gamesclassification).
The latest available data is a Galaxy survey, requested by the Standing Committee of Attorneys- General in May to assist Ministers in their decision making.
The national telephone survey shows that 80% of the 2,226 people contacted said they support the introduction of an R18+ classification for games.
“This survey also reflects the community feedback that I and many members of the Gillard Government have received from our constituents in recent years,” he said.
The national survey found that, of those surveyed:
- 91% said that adults would know that a game classified R18+ is clearly unsuitable for children
- 81% aged over 50 agreed that there should be an R 18+ classification for computer games
- 76% of households with children aged under 18 thought that there should be an R18+ classification for computer games.
Support was strong across all States and Territories:
- Western Australia – 84%
- Victoria – 82%
- Tasmania – 82%
- South Australia – 81%
- Northern Territory – 81%
- Queensland – 80%
- New South Wales – 77%
- Australian Capital Territory – 77%
The survey results build on the recent public consultation, where 98% of about 57,000 people supported the introduction of an adult classification.
Australia’s most restrictive classification for video games is currently MA15+. Games that do not satisfy this category are refused classification and cannot be brought into Australia.
An R18+ classification for computer games can only be introduced with the agreement of all Commonwealth, State and Territory Ministers.
Media Adviser: Jayne Stinson 0458 547 512 firstname.lastname@example.org
Government poll supports an R18+ classification
In December 2010 Minister for Home Affairs, Brendan O’Connor, released the results of a national telephone poll conducted by independent research company Galaxy research which found 80% support for the introduction of an R 18+ classification for computer games.
The poll covered 2,226 respondents aged 16 years and over from all Australian States and Territories.
The poll asked participants to indicate how strongly they agreed or disagreed with a number of statements relevant to an R 18+ classification, then answer the question ‘Should there be an R 18+ classification category for computer games in Australia?’ These poll questions are included in the report which is available for download.
A wide range of demographics were covered, including; age, gender, capital cities (versus elsewhere), work status, marital status, household income, children under 18 years in the household and level of education (below year 12 and year 12+). Age, gender and location demographics were weighted to reflect the latest ABS population estimates.
Download the telephone poll results:
R18+ computer game classification review released by the Minister for Home Affairs and Justice
The Minister for Home Affairs and Justice Brendan O’Connor today released a review of existing research into whether people who play violent computer games are at greater risk of being aggressive.
This analysis of the available literature shows that:
- there is no conclusive evidence that violent computer games have a greater impact on players than other violent media, such as movies or music videos
- there is stronger evidence of short-term effects from violent computer games, than long-term effects
- some research finds that violent computer games are a small risk factor in aggressive behaviour over the short term, but these studies do not thoroughly explore other factors such as aggressive personality, family and peer influence and socio-economic status.
The introduction of an R18+ classification for video games will be discussed at the Standing Committee of Attorneys-General meeting in Canberra on Friday 10 December.
The literature review is available here