A federal ruling on the introduction of an R18+ mature video game classification was delayed in Australia on Friday, a frustrating development for video game industry proponents in the region.
The decision to delay the ruling followed a Standing Committee of Attorneys General meeting in Australia's capital city, Canberra. With a continued lack of an R18+ rating, video games with mature content are still eligible to be de facto banned in the country.
"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," said Ron Curry, CEO of Australia's Interactive Games & Entertainment Association.
Curry said the industry was however pleased that it has been able to argue its points before the Australian government about adding the rating category. The SCAG did not reveal when the ruling will take place.
The most restrictive category in the country is currently MA15+ -- games deemed to have content inappropriate for anyone under that age limit are refused classification. Those games could become de facto banned or their developers forced to edit out the content in question.
The debate over the addition of an R18+ rating in Australia has ensued for the past few years, as video gaming's audience has become older. Numerous public polls in Australia have shown the vast majority of respondents are in favor of an R18+ rating.
And this month, an Australian government review has found no clear link
between video game violence and real world aggression.
"While there are some opponents who argue an R18+ rating will only give children access to high level content, this is simply not true," argued Curry. "Content that exceeds the guidelines required for an R18+ classification will still be refused classification and banned in Australia."
"An R18+ rating for video games will go a long way in helping parents make informed decisions about the games their children play and also provide more consistent guidelines aligned with other forms of media," said Curry.
Other developed regions including the U.S., Japan and Europe have ratings in place for games with mature content. An R18+ classification already exists for films in Australia.