Legislation passed yesterday (18th June, 2012) to allow gamers in Australia to purchase games that would otherwise be classified R18+.
Previously games that would attract this classification would either have to modify the content to satisfy a less severe classification (MA15+) or be banned from sale.
This move by the Federal Government will be quickly ratified by the states and territories, with attorneys-general backing the reform.
Whilst I agree with the modified classification, mostly because it quite rightly recognises adults as by far the most prevalent users of computerised games, I raised an eyebrow at the context of the following article in which it states that Home Affairs Minister Jason Clare said:
These are important reforms over 10 years in the making. The R18+ category will inform consumers, parents and retailers about which games are suitable for minors to play and will prevent minors from purchasing unsuitable material. The reforms also mean that adults are able to choose what games they play within the bounds of the law.
I don't know how important these important reforms are exactly, but what they hey. And I can only assume that by "within the bounds of the law" means that previously adults might have obtained banned (or unmodified) games from overseas, or by other means.
The writer of the article goes on to say:
Previously, the highest rating for computer games has been MA15+ meaning overseas adult-only games are usually banned here or given a lower classification allowing children to obtain them
This is bollocks. Yes, the game might have been banned. This meant that people wanting said game might then find another way of purchasing the game (from an overseas gaming site, for example) or by downloading the game illegally via torrent sites or the like.
But to say that the classification is lowered needs to be expanded upon by explaining that this was only done if the developers of the game modified the content so that it then fell into line with the MA15+ classification. It wasn't as though someone just thought, "stuff it." and slapped a lower classification sticker on the box, allowing all the "kiddies" to see things they shouldn't.
Whilst this is a good decision, it would be interesting to see whether gamers who currently source adult-only games from outside Australia would now embrace this sector of the gaming industry in a more localised fashion (ie. buy at home).