Statements from Australian state attorneys-general are complicating efforts to introduce an R18+ rating in the country to accommodate the release of games games aimed at adults.
The long-discussed R18+ rating
is set to be considered at a meeting of Australian state attorney-generals this Friday, but GameSpot AU reports
New South Wales attorney general Greg Smith (pictured) is planning to abstain from the vote, preventing the unanimous approval needed to move forward.
A spokesman for Smith told Gamespot AU Smith was waiting for the results of a review of the new rating's potential effects by the Australian Law Reform Commission, which is not due until 2012.
Meanwhile, a spokesman for South Australia attorney general John Rau tells The Australian
that the state is planning to do away with the lower MA15+ rating, regardless of the results of the nationwide meeting.
Such a move would bump games rated MA15+ in other states up to an R18+ rating in South Australia, limiting a large swath of current releases to purchase by adults only. The move would also likely confuse nationwide marketing efforts, which would have to take multiple ratings into account.
Rau floated the idea of removing the MA15+ rating back in April
as a way to ensure "a clear gap between material for adults and material for children and empower responsible parents by making sure game classifications are helpful."
However, at the time Rau said he was only considering the move in the event an R18 rating was imposed nationwide. South Australia now seems likely to remove the MA15+ rating regardless of the nationwide situation.
"I think it would be bizarre if they were to go it alone," South Australia opposition justice spokesman Stephen Wade told The Australian. "It would be clearly an unfair impost on South Australian retailers at a time we are very aware of the competition between the online retail marker and the shopfront retail market."