South Australian Attorney-General changes position on abolishing MA15+ rating

South Australian Attorney-General John Rau has reversed his position on video game classification, announcing that he supports the existence of both MA15+ and R18+ ratings, InDaily reports.

South Australian Attorney-General John Rau has reversed his position on video game classification, announcing that he supports the existence of both MA15+ and R18+ ratings, InDaily reports.

Rau had previously stated his intention to abolish the state's MA15+ rating for video games if an R18+ rating was introduced, saying at the time that he wanted a clear line between what games minors could and couldn't get their hands on.

Today, he announced that the government's new classification guidelines and the tightening of each classification address his concerns.

"The new MA15+ classification is now so different to the previous one that I no longer see an issue with it," Rau said. "I will, however, keep a watching brief on MA15+ games.

"The guidelines include much tighter requirements for every level of classifications – in particular, what constitutes MA15+. Under the new guidelines, games that were previously classified as MA15+ could now be subject to an R18+classification. The guidelines draw an obvious distinction between games that are suitable for children, early-teens, and games that are only suitable for adults.

"This is critical, as teenagers and children will be restricted from purchasing unsuitable games," he said. "In fact, they will have less access to these games than they do now."

Under the previous classification guidelines, the MA15+ rating had the following classifiable elements:

THEMES
The treatment of strong themes should be justified by context.

VIOLENCE
Violence should be justified by context.

Sexual violence may be implied, if justified by context.

SEX
Sexual activity may be implied.

LANGUAGE
Strong coarse language may be used.

Aggressive or very strong coarse language should be infrequent.

DRUG USE

Drug use should be justified by context.

NUDITY
Nudity should be justified by context.

Under the new classification guidelines, the MA15+ rating is more restrictive:

THEMES
The treatment of strong themes should be justified by context.

VIOLENCE
Violence should be justified by context.

Strong and realistic violence should not be frequent or unduly repetitive.
Sexual violence, implied or otherwise, is not permitted.

SEX
Sexual activity may be implied.
Sexual activity must not be related to incentives or rewards.

LANGUAGE
Strong coarse language may be used.
Aggressive or strong coarse language should be infrequent, and not exploitative or offensive.

DRUG USE
Drug use should be justified by context.
Drug use related to incentives or rewards is not permitted.
Interactive illicit or proscribed drug use is not permitted.

NUDITY
Nudity should be justified by context.
Nudity must not be related to incentives or rewards.

Australia's new classification guidelines for video games will kick in on January 1st, 2013.

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