There was a brief flurry of excitement among Australian gamers before Xmas when the Attorneys-General of each state met on December 10 – some of them hadn’t declared outright opposition to implementing an R18+ classification for video games! Surely it would go ahead this time!
Of course it didn’t. There wasn’t outright rejection, but simply the decision to further consider the options. So no progression, but at least no steps backwards. Of course, even if they’d all agreed, it still would have taken time to get the details into place.
What was interesting were the other releases that came with the SCAG meeting – a literature review that indicated “research into the effects of VVGs on aggression is contested and inconclusive” which some sites took as an official refutation to the argument (it wasn’t – “inconclusive” isn’t a victory statement here) and a large scale public survey that showed 80% public approval (page 5) for computer games getting the R18+ classification.
The interesting point to me is that despite that level of support, 63% overall of those asked thought that playing violent computer games resulted in real life violence. So people were supporting the R18+ classification not on the grounds that they thought it was a safe thing to do, but more on the grounds that it made the classification system more understandable and functional.
Gamers probably won’t care if the R18+ classification goes ahead, but it just goes to show that video games still have a PR issue to address.