Singapore has announced that it will launch a new two-tiered videogame rating system on April 28.
A report by the Chinese news service Xinhua said videogames released in Singapore may fall into one of two new categories designed to help consumers and parents make informed choices about their gaming purchases. Mature 18 (M18) games will be restricted for sale to people 18 years of age or older, and will require retailers to conduct age checks before the sale. The second rating, "Age Advisory," is for games suitable for players aged 16 years or older, but is an advisory category rather than a legal restriction, and retailers will not be required to check for compliance with age limits.
"Games with mature themes, or which contain realistic depictions of violence and drug use, nudity and frequent use of strong coarse language" will be given the M18 classification, according to guidelines released by Singapore's Media Development Authority, while games "with content which contains moderate level of violence, portrayal of implied sexual activity, nudity without details, coarse language and depiction of illegal drug use" may be hit with the Age Advisory label.
Games falling into either category will be required to carry rating stickers, while games without restricted content will be approved for general consumption and won't be rated. Singapore authorities said the new rating system, which takes over from an interim system launched in November 2007, was developed over a two-year period of research and consultation.