That R18+ Discussion Paper Has Finally Been Released

Yesterday afternoon, the federal government finally got around to releasing their long-coming discussion paper on the merits of introducing an adult classification for videogames. They're also asking for public consultation, so if you have a logical, coherent and informed argument to support an R18+ rating, you should download the discussion paper and submit your thoughts before next February.

David over at Kotaku is obviously all over this, and has summed up the key arguments included in the discussion paper:

Briefly, the key arguments against are:

* Computer games should be treated differently from films given the specific, negative effects of interactivity on players, particularly their participation in violent and aggressive content. * It would be difficult for parents to enforce age restrictions for computer games. * Minors would be more likely to be exposed to computer games that are unsuitable for them. * An R 18+ for computer games would exacerbate problems associated with access to high level material in Indigenous communities and by other non-English speaking people * There is no demonstrated need to change existing restrictions.

And, the key arguments for are:

* The R 18+ classification category sends a clear, unambiguous message to parents that the game material is unsuitable for minors * Consistent classification categories for films and computer games are easier to understand * A new classification will supplement technological controls on minors’ access to age inappropriate computer games * Adults should not be prevented from playing R 18+ level computer games simply because they are unsuitable for minors * Comparable international classification systems have an adult rating for computer games – international parity is desirable * Consumers access games which would be R 18+ illegally – it would be better if they were legally available with appropriate restrictions

As David suggests, I'd recommend downloading the full discussion paper (linked below) and reading through. While having this discussion paper will probably have little influence over swaying AG Atkinson, it is an important first step in the democratic process to let us voice our opinions on this very anti-democratic matter. Just make sure your voice counts.

[Attorney-General's Department, via Kotaku]

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