Australia has long been seen as a land of arcane and outdated ratings for both movies and video games but now the Australian Law Reform Commission has launched a public discussion which includes 43 discussion points linked to how the system can be rebuilt from the ground up.
For video game publishers working in Australia
and for gamers living there the most important provisions are linked to the fact that a number of games that only have mild content will no longer require any sort of classification.
The process, which can lead to delays in the launch process, is required just for computer games that are produced for commercial purposes and are likely to be rated MA 15+ or higher.
The Australian proposal says, “The classification of most other media content – for example, books, magazines, websites, music and computer games now likely to be G, PG and M – should become or remain voluntary,” the proposal concludes, meaning publishers could voluntarily submit mild content for classification – to secure a G rating sticker for a family-targeted game, for example – but would not be required to submit games M15 and below.”
The proposal also says that the main concepts behind the new proposal are that all adults should be ready to make their own informed choice when it comes to buying media, in general, and video games, in particular, while those under the age of consent need to be protected from potential harmful effects from over the top violence or sexuality.
Australian citizens are now invited to comment on the proposals and the deadline is set for November 18,
A number of high profile games
have not been launched in Australia because of the way the ratings system was structured and the current proposals have been the result of a process that included inquiries, public consultations and opinions from the Attorney Generals of the states.