Australian Parliament Passes R18+ Gaming Bill
For years it's been a running joke that whenever a ESRB mature-rated game would come out here, you'd be sure to hear how it was banned in Australia. That will change now that both the Australian House and Senate have passed a bill that would create an R18+ ratings category for video games, essentially lifting the de-facto banning of some mature-rated games in the country.
Passage of the bill marks the end of a long struggle to get the R18+ classification for video games in the country – one which currently exists for movies and other media. Previously, the lack of the R18+ rating meant that games deemed to exceed the MA15+ classification were not rated, and could not be sold in the country.
In the past, a number of high-profile ESRB mature-rated titles like Mortal Kombat (2011), Syndicate (2012), and initially a number of games in the Grand Theft Auto series (which were later released either edited or uncut) were banned in Australia because they were refused classification because there were deemed above the MA15+ rating.
The R18+ rating will go into effect on January 1, 2013.