Australia's R18+ guidelines published, industry 'concerned'

Australia's R18 guidelines published, industry 'concerned'
The Australian government today published its new guidelines for the classification of computer games, but those guidelines were met with concern by the country's games industry. The R18+ classification for video games comes into effect on January 1 2013, but Australia's Interactive Games & Entertainment Association responded to today's guidelines with only a "reserved and qualified welcome."

The IGEA's concern centers on a couple of the guidelines' assertions. Firstly, the guidelines state that similarly themed content is more impactful in video games than in film, and potentially more harmful. Secondly, the guidelines attribute this greater impact to the medium's interactive nature. In short, the new classification will hold games to a higher standard than film, and may see some games that were banned without the R18 classification stay banned despite its effectuation.

Shortly after the guidelines were announced, the IGEA released a statement. While that statement does express a welcome to the guidelines, the language is laced with skepticism and disappointment:
"Given the opposition to the introduction of an R18+ category from a vocal yet unrepresentative section of the community, along with a largely conservative group of Attorneys-General, it is no surprise the new guidelines hold video games to a higher standard across a number of categories compared to film and what originally existed for video games.

"As we have previously stated, we are concerned with the acknowledgment in the guidelines that interactivity has greater impact on players, despite the Federal Attorney-General's office publishing a literature review in September 2010 that found no evidence to support these claims. There will be continued debate about whether the interactivity of video games has a greater impact than other forms of media, and we will continue to refer to the lack of the evidence to support these claims."
There are four months to go until the R18+ classification comes to Australian video games, and this isn't the last we'll hear about it before then. You can find the government's guidelines here, and read the IGEA's response to them here.

This article was originally published on Joystiq.