The Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) has stomped on arguments an R18+ rating will help curb illegal video games downloading.
Australia is one of the only developed countries without a Restricted classification for computer games. This means that anything deemed to be suitable only for people 18 years and over is banned or modified to fit the 15 years and under classification.
The Interactive Games and Entertainment Association (IGEA) had said Australian retailers were being shortchanged as consumers look towards illegally downloading adults-only games as a way to overcome Australia’s classification scheme.
But the ACL told GamePro in February that reducing video games piracy should not be a reason to introduce an R18+ classification.
“If people are breaking the law to get a hold of material then they’re breaking the law and that’s obviously inappropriate and not good behaviour,” an ACL spokeswoman said. “You certainly don’t change your system to cater to people that are breaking the law.”
She said from her understanding, the gaming industry in Australia is very healthy and does not risk going broke at any stage.
“We’re not anti-gaming, just anti more sex and violence,” the spokeswoman said. “It’s to do with our concern of having the worst sex and violent [material] in the hands of our children.”
The Christian group also argued against claims an R18+ rating will better protect children as it gives parents the right tools to better decide whether a game is appropriate for their kids to play. According to the EFA, over half of MA15+ games released in Australia last year should have been rated adults-only.
“The issue here is to strengthen guidelines in the MA15+ rating and to make sure the process is adequately fitting the guideline,” the ACL spokeswoman said. “Introducing more violent and more sexual games for sale is hardly going to help the situation.
“The reality is, if they were introduced they would inevitably find their way into the hands of children.”
At the time of the interview, the ACL were preparing its submission to the R18+ classification public consultation by the Attorney-General’s office, which closed on 28 February.
iGEA and EFA have both tendered their response in favour of bringing in a Restricted rating for games.