A couple of weeks ago we reported that EveryonePlays campaign, started by PALGN and GAME, had 89,210 signatures on a petition in support of R18+. Now we're pleased to report that Senator Kate Lundy has now tabled the petition in government, making a speech in support of an R18+ rating for games in Australia.
This is real progress, and shows that everyone's efforts are making a real impact in making this a key issue for polititians across the country. By the time the Attorneys-General meet on December 10, they'll have an idea of how big an issue this is for gamers and parents across the country, giving us a better chance of receiving the R18+ rating Australia deserves.
We're spoken to Roland Kulen from EveryonePlays , who has agreed to write up a guest blog on the situation, and we've selected a few choice quotes from the Senator below. We recommend that you take a look at the whole speech here.
Firstly, it is worth noting that we already have an R18+ classification for films. This classification is important as it gives parents clear guidance on what is appropriate for their children and teenagers. As a parent I know there is a peace of mind when selecting films for my family’s enjoyment, to know that there is a robust classification system. The classification system informs my choices and helps me assess suitability and age appropriateness for my children.
The absence of an R18+ computer games classification creates something of a grey area for parents. There is limited guidance for parents or young people, creating a risk where games are purchased that they are not suitable.
Currently retail store sales people have to advise parents that some MA15+ games are not suitable for under 18s, when it should be the classification system providing clear guidelines for parents as to what material is suitable for adults and what material isn’t.
It is my view that if such games were able to be classified R18+ in the first instance, then parents would have greater peace of mind that the games rated MA 15 their children are playing are in fact, age appropriate.
I have observed a groundswell of public support for the introduction of an R18+ games classification. It is coming from a diverse range of people, with support from parents and parent groups, ICT, telecommunications and related sector organisations as well as the expected gamer communities and computer games industry organisations.
"Tabling the significant GAME / PALGN petition in the Senate", says Rob, "will help censorship ministers understand that a record number of everyday Australians support a change in PC and Video game classification."
Roland Kulen from PALGN, reinforced those points, and raised the issue that parent need extra guidance when it comes to deciding what games are suitable for their children.
“Some games are played by everyone," began Roland, "but some are really only meant for those over 18. And right now because there is no R18+ classification in Australia, some content that should be rated R18+ is currently rated MA15+.
“People feel comfortable sending their kids to movies because we have comprehensive content classifications, however, when it comes to games Australians are left short. Family gaming is now the fastest growing segment of the video games market, and it is important for all video games to provide a clear message with regards to their content - Some games are played by everyone, but some are only meant for those over 18. PALGN, Australia's most trusted independent source of video and PC game news, partnered with GAME to keep the PC and Video game classification debate alive. It is not over until the games classification legislation is changed – and change doesn’t come easy. We’re in this for the long haul.”