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Report: Australian Government To Debate R18+ Rating In April

A debate in Australia over the addition of an 18 and over video game content rating will take place in April, according to local reports, with the release of future mature-themed games at stake.
A debate in Australia over the addition of an 18 and over video game content rating will take place in April, according to local news source Adelaide Now. Government figures could review a discussion paper and public submissions regarding a proposed R18+ video game rating during the meeting of federal and state attorneys-general. The debate could prove crucial for the release of certain future mature-themed video games. Australia's video game ratings system only goes as high as ages 15 and up, meaning that any game intended for an adult 18 and over does not get a content rating, and is de facto banned in the country. The Australian National Classification Scheme is considering lifting the ban in order to help curb piracy and MA 15+-rated games that are borderline adult-themed. The report comes after a group calling itself Grow Up Australia sent a petition with over 16,000 signatures to the attorney general's office, arguing for an R18+ rating for the country. The group partnered with video game retailer EB Games to solicit signatures. In December last year, the Attorney General's Department released a discussion paper so people could submit feedback on the R18+ issue. Violent games such as Bethesda Softworks' Fallout 3 and Valve Software's Left 4 Dead 2, which have an M-rating in the U.S., ran into trouble with the Australian classification system. Developers had to alter the games in order to fall within the MA 15+ rating before they released the games in the region, following an initial classification refusal. Any change to the rating system will require the unanimous consent of federal- and state-level attorneys general. South Australia attorney general Michael Atkinson has repeatedly signaled his strong opposition to such a move, saying recently he "won't surrender" in the fight against an R18+ rating.

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