As Australia considers the introduction of an R18+ classification for video games, the country's government has decided to review classification guidelines for all the region's media in 2011, planning to ensure that rating standards have kept pace with an evolving landscape.
"It has become increasingly clear that the system of classification in Australia needs to be modernized so it is able to accommodate developments in technology now and in the future," O'Connor said.
According to a report in Gamespot Australia, Federal Attorney-General Robert McClelland and Minister for Home Affairs Brendan O’Connor will ask the Australian Law Reform Commission
to conduct the review, considering the global availability of media content as enabled by technology changes.
"When the National Classification Scheme began, classifiable content and the way it was delivered to consumers was relatively static," O'Connor said. "Today, films can be watched in a cinema, on DVD, on TV or downloaded."
"Many video games include significant film segments to tell stories, and some films have interactive content," he added. "The National Broadband Network will increase this ready access to classifiable content. People, particularly parents, need a system of classification in Australia that allows them to make informed choices about what they wish to read, see and hear."
The government had been considering the introduction of an R18+ rating for some time, after controversy over popular adult titles being prohibited from sale or requiring editing in the region -- plus evidence of strong public support
for the rating -- finally led the government to reconsider how it evaluates and classifies game content. The most restrictive age category in the country is currently MA15+.
However, a Standing Committee of Attorneys General meeting in Canberra earlier this month resulted in a decision to delay the ruling -- a ruling on a discussion that had already been postponed once this year
Before the delay, though, the Committee managed to draft guidelines for the proposed ratings, and will reportedly consider them as part of the overall review process in 2011.