There has finally been progress in the fight for Australian gamers’ right to determine for themselves what they can play.
GameSpot AU is reporting that the Australian Federal Minister for Home Affairs Jason Clare has introduced R18+ legislation to parliament. He just recently had the legislation cleared by the Labor Party.
You may be wondering why an R18+ bill for games is so important to Australians. Australia has a national classification board that gives all media ratings based on their content like the MPAA or the ESRB in the United States. The ratings go from G to X18+ and cover films to video games. The problem is that the R18+ rating only applies to films. Video games can only go up to a MA15+ rating which causes many games to not be released, or heavily censored, in the country.
The R18+ for games bill still has quite a bit to go until it becomes law though. For the bill to be passed in the House of Representatives, the bill must have the support of at least two crossbench MPs. The MPs have all remained silent on their stance over R18+ which may be a cause for worry.
The Senate is much more sympathetic to the cause of an R18+ bill. For the bill to pass through the Senate, it requires the support of the coalition or the Greens.
While it may be a while before we hear anything on the legislation, it’s a big step for Australian gamers who want to choose what games they can and can not play.
Video games aren’t just toys anymore and entertain a wide variety of people, including adults. Australia is one of the last modernized countries to deny these simple entertainment rights to adults. The rating system is in place to inform parents about entertainment content, not restrict an adult's access to entertainment.
We’ll keep you updated as the bill is sure to turn a few heads as it makes its way through the Australian parliament.