The multimedia classification system in Australia’s gaming and entertainment community is a topic which has always been heavily debated throughout the media and government. Many problems have arisen from the subjective/arbitrary placement of creative pieces within different age based genres. Take for example the vague difference between the M15+ rating and the MA15+ rating: one is suitable for all audiences, the other restricts it’s audience to the 15+ demographic.
The most prominent problem which has plagued the gaming industry since it’s Australian introduction is the lack of an R18+ rating. This issue has been gaming’s biggest obstacle over the past years, being the sole reason for the banning of titles such as: Syndicate, Mortal Kombat 2011 and Manhunt. Not only did the government ban video games due to the lack of an R18+ rating, but their bans also forced developers to alter their game – or face Australia’s banhammer. A popular example of this circumstance is Valve’s blockbusting title ‘Left 4 Dead 2′. After it’s initial ban, the game was re-released in a form which both the gaming community and the developer’s weren’t happy with, leading to massive drop in potential profit for Valve. In the months of July and August, 2011, the Australian government met to agree upon the matter, coming to the conclusion that video games should have an R18+ rating. That being said, the date for the rating implementation has been postponed multiple times to eventually arrive in January 2013.
With that, the honour of the first video game to receive an R18+ rating in Australia goes to…
Not a bad start (if I do say so myself). There’s hope that with the introduction of this new classification system the Australian gaming business will pick up dramatically. There’s also hope for the banned games; many of the popular games that were originally refused classification for maturity may be re-released in Australian stores. Australia is in for a new era of gaming that’s long overdue.