The R18+ classification for computer games will come into effect next year now that legislation has been passed in the Senate without amendment.
“This is a big win for gamers across Australia,” Jason Clare, minister for home affairs and minister for justice, told the 2012 Gametech conference today. “And it’s good news for the gaming industry.
“This isn’t the end of our reform plans. The last time our classification system was updated was 16 years ago.
“Our classification system is based on the forms of media delivery that dominated the 1990s: films in cinemas, videos rented from the shop down the road and computer games sold in cardboard boxes. That’s all changed.”
Each state and territory in Australia will also pass its own R18+ games classification legislation by the end of 2012 to ensure regulation of the legislation.
The reforms to computer games classification have undergone public consultation over a number of years.
The reforms were originally floated in 2009 when the attorney-general’s department released a discussion paper proposing the introduction of the R18+ classification.
A total of 58,437 submissions were received, with 98 per cent of submissions supporting the classification. The attorney-general’s department revealed around 34,938 of those submissions in support of the rating had been received via EB Games’ in-store campaign.
Jane Fitzgerald, the attorney-general’s department assistant secretary, stated in March this year that a ‘rule of thumb’ would be used to determine which games currently rated MA15+ and classified R18+ in other countries, would receive an R18+ classification under the new system.
Legislation for the R18+ classification will go into effect 1 January, 2013.
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