Australia's New R18+ Rules for Video Games Published

Sep 13, 2012 5:15 PM PST

MELBOURNE — Australia's Classification Board published today new guidelines for the new R18+ classification for video games that goes into effect Jan. 1.

Fiona Patten, CEO of the Eros Association, Australia's adult retail and entertainment group, said that the new guidelines will allow high-level depictions of sexual activity as long as they are simulated and not real.

“The vast majority of computer games are simulated and do not use ‘real’ or ‘actual’ footage from films or still images but the levels of fantasy and imagination are often way above what would normally be in an X rated film,” Patten said. “Even though the new guidelines prohibit simulated sex scenes that are ‘explicit and realistic’ this area will have more than 50 shades of grey to it.”

Patten noted that if simulated depictions of high-level sexual activity are soon to be legal in computer games, the government should consider amalgamating the two upper adult categories of R and X

 “Simulated sexual depictions of penetrative intercourse are extremely real these days and with the use of enhanced CGI, fractal geometry and other simulated design programs, the differences between R and X will be merely academic and of little consequence to the majority of users of the two categories.”

Patten went on to say that in the online environment the difference between R and X ratings means nothing.

She called on the government to adopt recommendations of the Australian Law Reform Commission, which was to recognize one platform for the classification of all content.

“Already adult actors are making their own erotic computer games to go alongside their films," Patten said. "It is completely insane to require that the simulated depiction be rated differently from the real one when they will look almost identical.”

The new guidelines for material classified R 18+ are as follows:

There are virtually no restrictions to the treatement of themes

Violence is permitted. High impact violence that is, in context, frequently gratuitous, exploitative and offensive to a reasonable adult will not be permitted. Actual sexual violence is not permitted. Implied sexual violence that is visually depicted, interactive, not justified by context of related to incentives or rewards is not permitted

Depictions of actual sexual activity are not permitted. Depictions of simulated sexual activity ay be permitted. Depictions of simulated sexual activity that are explicit and realistic are not permitted.

There are virtually no restrictions on language

Drug use is permitted. Drug use related to incentives and rewards is not permitted. Interactive illicit or proscribed drug use that is detailed and realistic is not permitted.

Nudity is permitted.

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