The Australian government's decision to open the debate over an R18+ rating for video games is being hailed by the Interactive Games and Entertainment Association, which says the submissions will reveal a broad support for the category.
iGEA CEO Ron Curry praised the decision to open a "formal and structured public consultation process," despite firm stated opposition on the part of Attorney General Michael Atkinson to the addition of the rating.
Said Curry in a statement to websites including GamesIndustry.biz
: "We will be calling on Mr. Atkinson to genuinely consider the range of views that are expressed over the next two months and reconsider his position on the matter."
Australia lacks the equivalent of an M rating for games containing certain levels of graphic or adult content. As a result, games falling into this category don't receive ratings in Australia, and thus can't be released in the region.
Attorney General Atkinson asserts that only a vocal minority of gamers
want the rating, and that games with graphic content could have a negative impact on the public.
But the iGEA disagrees. "The adult rating for videogames is widely supported across the community, whether it be adults who play videogames and want the right to play games that appeal to them, parents who want clear and consistent classifications to help them make the right choices for their family, and for the videogames industry in light of technology convergence which is blurring distinctions between different types of media," says Curry.
Curry also points out that content deemed excessive for the R18+ rating can still be denied classification, aiming to alleviate concerns that adding the category would allow excessively graphic content in the region.
"This is simply not the case," he says. Content will still be refused classification if it exceeds the adult rating guidelines that are enforced by the Classification Board."