The Australian video games industry has welcomed the R18+ classification for video games following a 10-year push from video game industry organisations, specialist press outlets, retailers, and consumers.
The legislation was passed through the Senate with bipartisan support yesterday, and will be effective from January 1, 2013.
The success of the adult classification is yet to be seen, though, according to Interactive Games and Entertainment Association CEO, Ron Curry. It will not only require the participation and support of both states and territories, but also a set of consistent classification guidelines. Splintering has the potential to be counterproductive.
“Key to this rating has always been the notion of harmonisation and while the amendments to the legislation are a true milestone, we need to be cognisant that we still require the timely support of all states and territories as well as workable guidelines to underpin a successful classification system,” Curry said.
"Indication from the past from the censorship ministers is that they are happy to work towards that date, and what we need to do now is to ensure those states and territories are doing the work to get there."
Despite the welcome news, a lot of questions remain regarding the future of video games within the nation, for example, whether games which would previously have been classified MA15+ will now be pushed to the R18+ mark.
"We haven't seen what the new guidelines look like yet, so the possible translation of some games from MA15+ to R18+ is a danger," Curry added. "That's the risk you take when you open the categories up, and if that's the case, the industry will have to accept it."