Today Kotaku published a guest post from Grow up Australia Entitled “2010 a Ratings Odyssey.
Adult gamers have been calling for an R18 rating for a long time and since the public consultation earlier this year it is clearer than ever that Australia wants an R18+ rating for video games. The figures are enthusiastic to say the least. 98% of the near 60,000 submissions supported the introduction of an R18 rating. This reinforces what we already knew from research conducted by the iGEA. Their findings reported that 68% of Australians are gamers and that 91% of Australians agreed that the rating should be introduced….
In a radio interview on 2SER a Dr Christopher Ferguson has criticised the moral panic that is currently surrounding video games in Australia. (The interview can be listened to below.)
Last week Psychologist Dr Wayne Warburton was seen on Channel Ten claiming the link between video games and violent behavior is stronger than the link between smoking and lung cancer. According to the news report psychologists are claiming an “explosion in youth crime is inextricably linked to violent video games and other media.”
Earlier the same week the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) posted a media release on their website with the heading “Gaming industry mirrors ‘big tobacco’ in denial of violent gaming effects.” The ACL media release quotes a paper titled: Video game effects confirmed, suspected and speculative: A review of the evidence. One of the contributors to that paper is Craig Anderson who has often been criticised by his peers (notably Ferguson) for his methods.
The Attorney-General’s Department is set to receive an influx of submissions from people who support the introduction of an R18+ category for computer games into the Australian classification system. The submissions were made via an online form provided by Grow up Australia, an independent group advocating the introduction of an adults only rating for games.
Grow up Australia will contribute 16,056 submissions from people who used their online form. The bulk of the submissions were collected during a partnership with EB Games during which Grow up Australia posters were displayed in all of EB Games’ 250+ Australian stores. A link to the online submission form was also provided via a banner on the EB Games website during the campaign.
Australia is the only developed nation without an adult rating for video games despite the average Australian gamer being 30 years old. In December 2009, the Attorney-General’s Department released a discussion paper calling for community feedback on the issue.
Aaron John Percival, Gamer activist and one of the founders of Grow up Australia, said “support for the introduction of the R18+ rating has been overwhelming with ninety-nine percent of the submissions made through the website in favor of the change”.
The co-founder of the group, Jake Edwards, added that “with less than a week until the deadline for submissions, there is still opportunity for people who want to get involved to make a submission directly to the Attorney-General’s Department”.
The submissions will be sent tomorrow so that they will be received before the deadline of the 28th of February 2010.
 Interactive Australia 2009, National Research prepared by Professor J. Brand, Bond University for the Interactive Entertainment Association of Australia, 2008, <www.igea.net/category/industry-research>