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South Australia Ready To Accept R18+ Rating, But Only As Replacement For MA15+
South Australia Ready To Accept R18+ Rating, But Only As Replacement For MA15+
April 28, 2011 | By Kyle Orland

South Australian Attorney General John Rau says the state is finally ready to adopt a long-proposed R18+ adult rating for games, but only if the lower MA15+ rating is eliminated and all games in the category pushed into the new, higher rating.

The Australian government has been pushing for an R18+ game rating, which would allow games targeted at adults to be released rather than banned as "unclassified" in the country.

But these efforts have long been held up by the conservative southern state and its previous attorney general, Michael Atkinson, whose approval for the change was necessary along with that of five other state attorneys general.

Now, the Australian federal government has indicated it will likely introduce an R18+ rating on its own if the attorneys general don't agree to one in their next meeting in July. This would leave each state to decide on its own whether or not to embrace the new rating.

If that happens, Rau tells Gamespot Australia his state would go along with the proposal, but "with the quid pro quo that MA15+ is eliminated as a classification and all games that are now rated MA15+ will be made R18+."

The change, Rau said, would help ensure that there is "a clear gap between material for adults and material for children and empower responsible parents by making sure game classifications are helpful."

Rau, who replaced Atkinson last March, says he has come to this decision after 12 months of deliberations on the matter, and the he has the support of South Australia's cabinet for his proposal.

Titles that receive adult-level ratings in other countries often receive an MA15+ rating in Australia, the highest currently available, rather than going unrated and thereby being banned from sale in the country.

Some such titles would likely be re-rated if an R18+ rating was introduced country-wide, with other previously unclassified games released under the new adult rating.

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Luke Quinn
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That's just fine with me.

We gamers have been saying all along that we agree that kids shouldn't be able to get their grubby little hands on adult games, but wanted the adults to at least have the option.

If getting rid of MA15+ and auto-rating anything more lively than Mickey's Tetris Challenge as an adult only title is what it will take for them to stop holding everything up, then stop screwing around and get it done already!

I want to all play the awesome games that my American counterparts are already well and truly bored of.

Christopher Enderle
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It's a good thing there's no such thing as teenagers.

Brett Williams
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I thought this too at first read, however after taking a look they do have a M for Mature Audience rating which is 13+. This pretty much fits the Teen rating from the ESRB. ESRB ranges from Teen 13+ to Mature at 17+. PEGI (EU) has a 12+, 16+ and 18+.

It won't quite cover everyone, but at the same time it will open up more options for everyone since they will no longer have to squeeze an adult game into a 15+ rating.

Joel S
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In a few years from now (however long it takes) this long debate over the law will be laughable. It already is, I suppose.

[User Banned]
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This user violated Gamasutra’s Comment Guidelines and has been banned.

Jakub Majewski
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MA15 is certainly a very strange rating - it's the "adult, but not quite adult" rating, which seems to be based on the very questionable notion that a 15-year-old is essentially an adult, in spite of still requiring a legal guardian. And, one of the arguments in favour of an R18 rating has been the fact that games that should have been rated R18 were being squeezed into the MA15 rating.

So, it makes perfect sense to eliminate the MA15 rating while introducing R18 - it means that the adult materials gamers have been demanding will be available, but only to adults, and it will not be possible (in theory!) for teenagers to buy adult games without their parents' knowledge. I would actually take the extra step of eliminating the MA15 rating in films as well, while we're at it.