Your R18+ Rating Submissions

Your R18+ Rating Submissions

The period of public consultation on the issue of whether Australia should have an R18+ rating for videogames is drawing to a close. You have until February 28 to make a submission. Many Kotaku readers already have, and we’re going to share them with you.

Last week we asked you to send us your submission to encourage your fellow Kotaku readers to have their say as well. We said we’d publish your closing 250-word comments. So for the rest of the week we’ll be highlighting some of the best in individual posts.

The first comes from Robert Tilt, who wrote:

Whilst there have been various arguments against an R18+ rating for video games, none seem to cater for the fact that this does not include any game over an MA15+ rating. If a game has content that is considered inappropriate for consumption, it can still be warranted an RC.

An R18+ rating is not just advantageous for adults willing to buy or play games in that rating, but it assists anybody who is associated with a ‘gamer’, who influences the gamers video game choices. Whilst the MA15+ rating is a fair warrant of strong content, there are many examples of video games which would be better suited in an R18+ rating that is inappropriate for the 15-18 year age bracket.

An R18+ rating for video games would also allow stronger control on restricting access to content within that rating. This is evident in other media, such as film and especially literature, where the proprietor of such media uses age verification before distribute this content (which is only occasionally enforced with the MA15+ rating).

Finally, the introduction of an R18+ rating for video games can integrate into the content restrictions already available on current generation platforms. These platforms already have a standard equivalent to an R18+ rating (such as Parental Control Level 9 on the Playstation 3). If video game distribution for R18+ games follow other media with this rating, then purveyors of this material will be better informed, and the material will be more accurately rated.

In case you’re yet to state your case, here’s how to do it.

The call for public consultation (
The Bond University Interactive Australia report (for helpful research insights)


  • I am the only person thinking this is a bad idea.

    How many games have we actually missed out on seeing in Australia because of not having an R18+ rating. And how many of those would have actually sold well.

    There could be huge losses in sales and costs to the industry in introducing this scheme.

    For one , who is going to police it and who pays for the policing. Some type of governing body will now be needed to run it and watch over it. Will those costs then be transfered to the end customer , of course.

    Stores like EB , Game and JB will have to pay a lot of money to train its staff on the policy and also pay a lot to comply. Will those costs then be transfered to the end customer , of course.

    Games like GTA IV and Modern Warfare 2 would almost certainly have been R18+ , so potential 10’s of thousands of sales could be lost from the 15-17 yr old kids.

    • Chris, the industry fully supports the introduction of an R18+ classification, as we reported yesterday. This would indicate they do not believe they would suffer losses in sales as a result – quite the opposite, in fact.

      As for “policing”, no additional policing is required. The Classification Board would continue to do its job, albeit with the extra capacity to award an R18+ rating. Retail stores are already expected to ask for proof of age for sales of MA15+ games (it is a Restricted category, after all), so again there should be no change here other than to also check ID for sales of R18+ games.

      I fail to see where any additional costs would be incurred anywhere along the line.

      • To add to Davids post, I’d like to mention that there is a rating on the case for a reason. I respect that, and so should you.

      • Yeah, i agree. I can not see how any cost could be passed onto the end user.

        Staff should already be trained in the correct procedures when selling restricted material (there is an R18+ in both movies and cds.) and if the staff are not correctly trained, we would not bare any costs as it is the fault of the retailer for failing to train staff.

        What is worse to a developer, potentially losing some sales to users that should not be exposed to the game, or losing millions of sales because a game gets banned. (imagine if MW2 got banned?)

        I think we might get a handful of games that actually get rated R18+ but it is worth having it there to make the rating system at least equal to that of the movie industry

    • i think the rest of the free world would like to disagree with you, the R18+ rating is favoured by everyone, apparently only you and 10 others see a problem.

    • @Chris: Hahahah, do a little research before claiming such outlandish ideas. Why on Earth would you think that a separate body would be needed to govern this rating? Why do you think people would need training to understand not to sell R rated content to people under the age of 18?

      Also, money does not take precedent over what is deemed acceptable for minors to experience. If a parent thinks their child is mature enough to handle the content, that is their choice to make.

    • “Games like GTA IV and Modern Warfare 2 would almost certainly have been R18+ , so potential 10’s of thousands of sales could be lost from the 15-17 yr old kids.”

      That’s a joke right? By that logic, we should just scrap the whole rating system altogether. After all, GTA IV missed out on the very lucrative 5-15 year old market!

    • I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest that Chris M may be under eighteen and may be one of the kids who will “suffer” if this goes ahead. If that is the case then you need to accept it is for a reason.
      If however you are not then I have nothing mor to add the Wildgoose and the others have not already stated, the training would not be exceptional and carding someone at the store takes no longer than getting a credit card out of a wallet.

  • I don’t think we should be concerned with sales when we have 15 year olds playing games that are not suitable for them. Games like GTAIV etc.

    • Tim I dont think games like GTA IV and COD Mod2 should be banned for 15yr olds , I dont think the games pose them harm. I worry that games like that will be made 18+ by overreacting media and cost the industry.

  • Yeah it’s pretty sick the amount of parents that let their 7-10 year olds play GTA IV and other MA15+ games. An R18+ rating would wake them the up.

  • Minors are already playing banned games. They hear about the ban, then go and pirate the game, just because it has been banned. Adults, who otherwise would have paid for said game, are turning to piracy as well. Ordinary citizens who would have stayed law-abiding if there was a R18+ rating. Those who do not turn to piracy are instead ordering from international websites. This, combined with the lack of domestic sales due to the bans, means that local retailers are losing money, local jobs are being lost and tax revenue is decreasing, all because of some misguided and failed effort to save the children.

    The average gamer is 28. Those who grew up on videogames are of voting age. The rate of violent crime in this country has been decreasing, even as the rate of videogame consumption has been growing. There is no link between violence and videogames, no more than there is between violence and movies, music, comic books, fiction and every other form of entertainment that has been demonised as “immoral” throughout history.

    Any parent who believes that banning any form of entertainment protects their child is a lazy, neglectful parent. Lazy, neglectful parents are proven to increase instances violent, criminal behaviour in children. Give them the tools they need to parent, instead of doing it for them, and children will be raised as better human beings.

  • It’s not that hard to police it. Don’t sell it to anyone who is under 18, much like alcohol or smokes.
    Anyway, I just wanted to say it’s unfair that us adults are being punished. Why can’t we play games that are intended for us?
    It is the parents responsiblity, just like it’s their responsbility when it comes to R18+ books, DVD’s and movies.
    I don’t understand why this form of media is so complicated.

  • Kids mostly get access to these games because they are only rated MA. The classification board lets games through which technically, it shouldn’t. AvP is a current example. Now parents will go “oh my boy is nearly 15, why not… I’ll get it for him”. Whereas if the game were rated properly then it would be less likely for that child to get the game. Some people who work in Eb and such also don’t ask for ID or they let it slide every now and then. That’s because really a kid can look 15 at an earlier age, whereas if a 13 year old was to go and try and buy an R rated game, there would be no excuse to sell it to them.

  • Since when do politicians listen to what the public says ? Public Consultations are basically created to let the plebs blow off a bit of steam but at the end of the day nothing changes.

  • Do you seriously think the government will allocate time and resources to reading thousands of letters and emails people send in about videogames ? Are you stupid or crazy ?

    • Believe it. I read a senate transcript the other day where they were discussing having already processed 1600 odd submissions, all individually read. There’s a reason the submissions are formatted and restricted to a word count.

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