BALLARAT gamers have breathed a sigh of relief after legislation was passed this week allowing for video games to have an R18+ classification in the country.
Up until Tuesday, the highest rating for video games in Australia was MA15+, meaning that many titles with a restricted rating overseas were banned here or given a lower classification, making them easily accessible to children.
Now, with an R18+ category, those under the age of 18 will be unable to hire or buy games with the rating and it will be illegal for retailers to sell R18+ material without the necessary markings.
The adults-only rating is given to games with content that may be sexual, violent or otherwise and which is considered to be high impact.
Avid Ballarat gamer Kyle Spielhagen said he was very happy with the new laws.
“It just makes more sense to have the same rating system as everyone else and the same system there is in television and movies,” Mr Spielhagen said.
“This way it will keep games out of the hands of little kids as well.”
Mr Spielhagen said he hoped games which were previously banned in Australia or heavily censored would become available in the not-too-distant future.
He said the majority of gamers in the country were over the age of 18 and that it was common sense to allow games that were suited for an adult age group.
EB Games Wendouree assistant manager Ben Loverso said the legislation was good news for the retailer and for local families.
“The majority of our MA15+ video games are actually rated R18+ overseas so this will give parents more control over what their children can access,” Mr Loverso said.
“It will make our jobs a lot easier too because we will require proof of purchase before people can buy the adult-only games.”
Mr Loverso said the new scheme could also minimise illegal downloads and benefit local businesses.
“There would be games like Left 4 Dead 2 where the game would come out but be toned down. The sales over here would be terrible because people were purchasing it online where they could get the full-rated version.”
Even though the changes have been welcomed by retailers and gamers across the city, Ballarat IT guru George Fong said it was still possible for children under the age of 18 to access adult-only material.
“This is not a magic bullet which will fix all the problems that come with violence in games,” Mr Fong said.
“It doesn’t resolve the fact that children under 18 are still going to be downloading games and it doesn’t take away the parent’s responsibility.”