Government Looking For Your Advice On R18+ Rating For Games

r18_left.jpgIt's unbelievable, I know, but the Attorneys-General have decided to give us a chance to voice our opinions on the need for an R18+ rating for games in Australia. The agreement was made at last week's SCAG meeting.

If you think this is odd (seriously, it's right up there with pineapple on pizza) you'll be even more wigged out by the duo that's against the move.According to News.com.au, the Eros Foundation - which support the pornographic industry - and the Australian Christian Lobby, aren't thrilled by the AGs' proposition. The ACL stands by the age-old argument that the interactive nature of games puts it in a different category to movies and books, while Eros believes the topic is of inferior importance to the regulation of X-rated films.

Unfortunately, the AGs haven't outlined how exactly they're going to get our feedback, but be sure to watch this space, as we'll fill it in with details once we have them.

We're not there yet, folks, but progress is being made, whether Michael Atkinson likes it or not.

Strange bedfellows oppose R18+ games debate [News.com.au, thanks Gavan]


Comments

    this could mean great things, its about time aus was brought into the 21st century.

    Doesn't really matter. Most of the games that have been banned here in Aus are terrible anyway. The others are freely available at any decent torrent site.

    There are many great things that would come from having a R 18+ classification for games.
    Firstly games that are refused 18+ classification have been released as MA15+, so having a higher leveled rating would actually help keep adult games out of inappropriate hands.
    Secondly it would help reduce piracy. Atkinson has unintentionally encouraged piracy by stating that children are clever enough to get their hands on games that are banned or given a higher classification, so if we plan on banning anything that does not fit a MA15+ rating, aren't we in turn encouraging piracy?
    Thirdly I believe it will allow developers to stretch their legs a little in terms of storyline maturity, a lot of movies have themes (not necessarily graphic) that may be too mature for younger audiences, hence given an R18+ rating.
    If anything this is an opportunity to help keep mature games out of unintended hands, and will help parents monitor the content their children are taking in better than with our current classifications, which have 15+ year olds having access to violence I believe only 18+ should be able to see.

    As for the believe that interactive media has a greater influence on an individuals behaviour than movies or music, is rubbish, and has not been proven.

    Wait, asking the public their opinion in an argument that's supposed to be about emotion and "thinking of the children"? Sounds a bit too much like democracy to me, I remain skeptical.

    Create an R Rating and bump and get a little tighter on the ratings. Increase fines for selling to underage gamers and put stickers on boxes to educate parents on what the game contains.

    PS - I will import games either way as it is cheaper...

    While I do see some negatives with the possible introduction of an "R" classification for games, its clear that the rating alone will get people thinking seriously about games.

    Not too sure how actually selling restricted games would go, being a former retailer I can see quite a few headaches.

    Really depends on if any games would warrant the actual restricted rating anyway.

    I remember a publication I read that was from back in the mid nineties that had a summary which read.
    "VIDEO GAMES BAD! You don't think so? You're silly! Everyone thinks so!"
    And this publication was supposedly the justification for a lack of R rating in games.
    Upon further reading of this document, I found out the following things from the data it contained:

    1 - A incredibly small minority of people considered violent video games offensive or frightening.
    2 - The overwhelming majority of people, didn't care.
    3 - More people had no problems with violent video games than people who did.

    I just wish I could find that doc again, because there is some seriously magical number bending in it. How they succeeded in taking that data, and produce that executive summary - a false mask taped over the truth; I'll never know - but I guess it's because the people deciding the laws just don't have enough time to read the facts, the data, only a quick glance at the executive summary is needed upon which to base their decision.

    I'd recommend spam flooding the AGs' inboxes with letters containing either:
    a - reasons
    b - your opinion
    On the matter, since when they go out looking for public opinion on the matter; well lets just say in the past they've been total liars about it. And got away with it too - politicians, who decide laws on surveys, should be forced to read the entire survey, and not the corrupt and deceitful executive summary.

    Data never lies, no matter if you try and hide it.

    I hate my government, I wish there was a "kick them all out of a job" option on the ballot paper.

    So... why are Eros arguing? Surely greater freedom in any medium would be advantageous to them.

    Oh my God, could our decisions actually matter to the government? And in a democracy as well!

    This is exciting, hopefully when they actually open their ears we, the collective gamers and our friends list's can scream how tired we are of being ignored.

    what's with all the spelling errors?

    and also what's with not linking to the news ltd article?

    doesn't seem like very good journalism..

    I am guessing the Eros Foundation is against the move because pornographic games may eat into the market share of their existing products?

    This is a much more positive outcome thus far than expected, and I look forward to more updates.

    @puzzled: Sorry about the typo, it's fixed now.

    If you read the entire post, you'll see there's a link to the News.com.au article.

    OK, so many points, where to begin.

    1. Eros's comment isn't so much about the introduction of an R rating for games, but a point that they want an X rating for movies first. The only reason that a pornography lobby group could have a reason to weigh in would be that they may fear commercial competition from sex games on consoles. Can someone please let these idiots know that Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo refuse to allow AO games on their products? You're not going to see interactive console porn cut into your profits guys, relax.

    As for the quote "real sex is sometimes being shown in R-rated films." I dunno if they've seen video games but there's no real people within to perform a 'real' sex act.

    Most other points have been covered by Logan in his comments to Atkinson's shortsightedness. Might not hurt to throw a few facts at the AG's though an see if that helps at all; ie, the fact that the average Aussie gamer is an adult, the amount of revenue that the gaming industry makes a year (including their cut of GST), the loss of revenue that not having an R rating is causing by the importing of blocked games in Australia, The fact that a lot of games that are 17+ elsewhere get an M15 rating here, where an R rating would probably be more relevant AND effective at keeping violent games away from young kids, and most importantly that we're adults and should be bloody well treated as such.

    I can understand restrictions on gun ownership. I can't understand why us Victorians can't have swords (especially decorational and fantasy a.k.a. non-practical swords) but I abide by the law.

    Not letting adults play games made for adults because children can't play them? They better think about taking away our cars, alcohol and cigarettes as well if that's the case, because the last thing we want is kids with lung cancer driving drunk all over the place...oh wait. Parents effectively stop that from happening every day, don't they?

    As long as Micheal Atkinson is in power, this will never change, as for some reason it requires a unanimous vote... Why, I can't figure out. Now for my various points (Which are my personal opinions):

    1) The Eros Foundation are liars. They must be worried about something, like what Taco said: Porn movies selling less because porn games are selling more. Couldn't they take advantage of this and get some adult games out there? Yeah I said it. Porn games. They'd have an R rating, so everything would be fine. They don't actually BELIEVE what they're saying, they are flat out lying. From their website:
    "We seek to bring logical and popular perspectives to love and sex rather than moral or religious ones."

    From the Article:
    "A spokesman for Eros said the foundation backed the ACL stance. "We support the Australian Christian Lobby's point of view," the spokesman said tonight."

    Lies. They are either in support of the Christian point of view or they're not, they can't pick and choose freedom in certain media forms and not others. And this isn't going to help their campaign to get an X rating in the states (of Australia), if they win here it'll just set a precedent that high ratings should not be created.

    2) The Australian Christian Lobby are liars. Here:
    "For example, due to loopholes in the guidelines, real sex is sometimes being shown in R-rated films."
    WRONG. A loophole is an unintentional way for someone to do something that is very close to being against the rules, and is against the spirit of the rules. But this is intentional, in fact it's one of the main 2 things the R rating is for. Pornography is SUPPOSED to be given an R rating in Australia, with the X rating being given to EXTREME pornography, such as videos of people urinating on each other, or violent sex.

    3) Micheal Atkinson may be an immoral, stupid man, but at least MY attorney general is sane:
    "It seems inconsistent that in Australia adults are allowed to view adults only films which have been classified R18+ by the classification board but not computer games with an equivalent high level content," Mr Hulls said in a statement."
    Damn straight. They are breaking their own guidelines: Adults should be able to see, hear, and read what they want.

    4) Why the hell does the ACL get consulted on this anyway? This came up in a class today at my Uni, and it really bugged me. Why do they get more say than me? Does liking a novel about some people that might have existed thousands of years ago make you more moral? I believe I have a stronger moral conscience than either of the 2 religious (Christian) friends I have. My point is not that religion makes you less moral, the point is that I don't see why it's related. Isn't it discrimination for the Government to consult Christians but not specifically consult Athiests? And Jews? And Muslims? And everyone else??? Anyway, though, if they're going to consult with the community in general, and do it properly, this is a good move. The ACL shouldn't get any more say in than anybody else - I've got my own beliefs as well, they're just not Christian ones. So this is a good move *if* they do it properly and *if* it's not just lip service. Let's hope so.

    The point? That these groups shouldn't be paid any more attention to than anyone else, and that the idea of consulting other people - everyday people - is a good one, *compared to what they're doing now*, and I hope it actually has some effect on something. But I doubt it will. If anything Australia's going backwards with all this religious rubbish - Censor my Internet? No thanks.

    @PurpleSfinx

    Consult... Christans?

    Excuse me, you make it sound like they were just asking the christans- THEY ASKED EVERYONE!!

    It's just the christans and the Porn-pushers that have a problem with it.

    By the way, Atheists more moral than religious people? Bullshit; Evolution. Survival of the fittest. Religion was set in to make people play nice. So either you're an Animal or you're special. You can't be both.

    All it means is they now get to spend months deciding how to 'let us have our say' before they spend month 'working out the logistics' so they can then leave the feedback window open for either 5 minutes or a few months followed by a few months 'collating the results' and... oh wait it's next years AG summit.

    rob hull ftw

    P.S.

    The OFLC's tagline is "Informing Your Choices."

    Maybe if they started 'Informing' instead of 'Ignoring' we might be able to take them seriously.

    They do say they're going to ask the general public for its thoughts. Ask the ACL is just an easy way to get a nice sound bite, I'd suspect.

    @Donar "I can't understand why us Victorians can't have swords (especially decorational and fantasy a.k.a. non-practical swords) but I abide by the law."
    We're not? I probably really should stop lugging my taichi sword around the main streets of Melbourne then.

    @ Wombat

    Consult... Christans?
    Excuse me, you make it sound like they were just asking the christans- THEY ASKED EVERYONE!!
    It's just the christans and the Porn-pushers that have a problem with it.

    I wouldn't even say it was that. It's just the knee jerk reaction from both groups made for a better story for the media. When was the last time they reported on violent games in a positive manner? So far they haven't even been able to construct a headline that isn't an accusation or derogatory.

    @ Jackablade

    More power to ya, man. I had to go through all sorts of hell to even brandish my wedding sword in public (mind you the blade is 85 cm long and 6 cm wide..). If you're a member of the AKC (Australasian Knife Collectors) you're granted exemption from the Vic Sword Law Legislation, but it's $30 a year just to have the same right you get for free in the other states.

    @Anthonii,
    Where would you recommend that i import games from? I have been told to try play-Asia but not many people i know have imported games in a long time, and i am pissed off with this crappy rating system

    If an R+ rating was available then people would be more likely to purchase the game upon release date then wait a week or so to get it on p2p downloaders, also lowering the amount of illegal copies.

    also the issue about monitoring the sales would be no different to monitoring smokes, dvd's or alcohol a quick id check. they already do this at many stores now anyway eg: EBgames do not sell MA ganes to people under 15 and check id. also with an R+ rating the games that have higher content would not get sold to 15 year olds either.

    90% of gamers now that own a xbox360 or ps3 are over 20 anyway, and the ones who aren't must have had their parents buy it for them cause they could not afford it on their own in which case the parents should monitor what their kids play. if they dont or ignor the warnings on the boxes then it is their fault and they have no right to complain.

    if people are worried bout kids getting r18 games they should utilise the parental lockout feature on the ps3/xbox360. if they dont they can only blame themselves. i am 26 and i fail to see why i can buy r rated movies but not games, i cant understand why we as gamers have to suffer because some loser gets upset by a violent game DONT PLAY IT if you dont like it. i dont like religion so i dont go to church or a mosque its MY choice as an adult and i certainly dont go bitching to the government about why i think religion is terrible, to all those people who probably dont even know how to play video games but make it hard for the rest of us... GROW UP GET OFF YOUR HIGH HORSE STAY OUT OF THINGS YOU KNOW NOTHING ABOUT!

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