Australia is set to join the rest of the Western world by introducing an R18 (R18+) rating for videogames on the 1st of January 2013.
Player Attack reports that Jason Clare, Australia’s Minister for Home Affairs and Minister for Justice, has officially put legislation to establish an R18+ rating for games before the country’s parliament.
The introduction of an R18+ rating will align the Australian games classification with Australian film classification, and closely resemble New Zealand’s classification system for games (with the exception that New Zealand also has R13 and R16 ratings, both approximate to Australia’s MA15+ rating).
Currently, Australia’s highest rating for games is MA15+. If a game is unsuitable for a fifteen year old it is banned in the country. Additionally, many other mature titles that receive an R18 rating elsewhere in the Western world are shoehorned into the MA15+ category, making them available to minors.
“The R18+ category will inform consumers, parents and retailers about which games are not suitable for minors to play, and will prevent minors from purchasing unsuitable material,” said Clare.
The guidelines as to what kinds of content will warrant an R18+ rating in Australia has not yet been made public. In New Zealand, an R18 game is one that may include “sex, horror, crime, cruelty, violence or offensive language,” to a degree comparable to an R18 film.