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Australian Games Industry Pitches R18+ Rating

| 15 Feb 2010 16:57
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Australia's videogame industry association has made its submission to the public consultation on R18+ videogame ratings, saying that Australia is "out of touch" with the rest of the world when it comes to classifying games.

With less than two weeks remaining in the Australian government's public consultation on the matter of R18+ ratings for videogames in the country, Australia's Interactive Games and Entertainment Association has finally thrown its hat into the ring. There are numerous reasons why the addition of the rating is desirable, the association said, including the increasing convergence of media types, usefulness to parents and the fact that the original decision to exclude the rating from videogames was based on "incorrect assumptions."

"Australia needs an adult rating so adults can play games that are age appropriate for them and parents can make educated choices for their families based on clear, consistent guidelines," said IGEA CEO Ron Curry.

The IGEA also cited poll numbers firmly supporting earlier reports indicating that Australians were overwhelmingly in favor of the new game rating. A News Limited poll showed that 95.5 percent of respondents were in favor of the rating, it noted, while polls conducted by Fairfax and Channel 7 each resulted in a 97 percent favorable response and an Interactive Australia 09 report by Bond University indicated that 91 percent of gamers and non-gamers alike believe the rating should be introduced.

"Even though opportunities to create a comprehensive family friendly classification scheme have been missed, this failure can be overturned at any time," the IGEA wrote in the summary of its position paper. "Censorship Ministers have an ongoing opportunity to repair the gap in the National Classification Scheme by agreeing to introduce an R18+ classification for computer games."

And there, of course, is the rub: Even if the results of the public consultation are undeniably in favor of an R18+ rating, the unanimous consent of the nation's Attorneys General is still required in order for it to actually happen. A "victory" in the process may be useful for bringing pressure to bear on opponents of the rating but as long as resistance remains in place - and we all know who we're talking about here - the classification system will remain unchanged. Since South Australia Attorney General Michael Atkinson has already dismissed this process as inherently flawed and thus irrelevant, it's unlikely that the consultation process will add up to anything more than a shot in the arm for those who already believe that the Australian rating system desperately needs to be overhauled.

The IGEA's complete submission to the R18+ public consultation is available at igea.net. (PDF format)

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