Atkinson's exit is no epic win for gamers

But former AG seen as a major obstacle

One of the country’s hardest violent video game critics, South Australian Attorney-General (AG), Michael Atkinson, has resigned to pave the way for new Labor blood.

The AG resigned despite winning his seat in the recent state election. It is unknown who will replace Atkinson after he leaves office before the next state election in 2014.

Games associations aren’t yet celebrating a reform win for the much-debated introduction of a video game R18+ classification, but they do see Atkinson’s resignation as the removal of a major roadblock.

Australian Game Developers Association president, Tom Crago, said Atkinson’s resignation has improved the chances of political support for a higher rating.

“With Atkinson out of the fray, we have a better chance [of passing the reform],” Crago said.

“We hope that common sense will prevail.”

Editor for online activist group, Protect Children from Mature Games, Jeremy Jastrzab, said the AG’s resignation does not guarantee the introduction of the R18+ classification. The group is an active proponent of the introduction of an R18+ classification.

“We have even more incentive to push this campaign forward now that our major obstacle has been removed,” Jastrzab said in a statement.

The group has collected more than 35,000 signatures for its R18+ petition launched across Game retail stores on March 3.

“Games are not primarily made for 15 year olds. If violent video games are harmful to children, then not having an R18+ rating makes the problem significantly worse,” Jastrzab said.

Games retailer, Electronics Boutique, collected 46,000 submissions to the discussion paper at its stores, claiming almost all of which called for the introduction of an R18+ rating.

The classification reform requires support from all state attorneys-general to pass and it is understood that Atkinson has remained its sole opponent. He voted down the proposal at a Standing Committee of Attorneys-General early last year.

Atkinson announced his resignation at a Prospect church in Adelaide this morning. He told The Adelaide Advertiser the that “there ought to be renewal in the ministry”.

“I think there are talented people on the Labor backbench who deserve a go,” Atkinson said.

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