An Australian R18+ rating for games will not guarantee that violent or drug-referencing games will make their way onto Aussie shores according to Australia's Home Affairs Minister Bob Debus.
The role of the Home Affairs Minister includes classification policy, Debus has stated that introducing a R18+ classification was no guarantee that games such as Fallout 3 would be sold in Australia. Gamers have been calling for the introducing of the adult rating for many years but the issue has resurfaced recently with the banning of the post-apocalyptic RPG-shooter Fallout 3. A game being refused classification (RC) means that it is banned from sale, import or advertisement within Australia. The game was banned due to it containing "incentives and rewards related to drug use."
"In the board's view, the game warrants an RC classification in accordance with item 1(a) of the computer games table of the National Classification Code," Mr Debus said. "As a general rule material that contains drug use related to incentives will be refused classification. The availability of an R18+ classification would not necessarily have resulted in a different decision by the Classification Board."
The developer of Fallout 3, Bethesda, has since removed all real-life drug references from the game. The game will be modified in all regions as a result of the OFLC RC classification. On the 7th of August the OFLC granted the title a MA15+ classification resulting in it being granted permission to be sold and advertised within Australia.
Debus said the R18+ classification for videogames is currently under review, the findings will be released to the public "once Censorship Ministers agreed to it." For the R18+ rating for games to be introduced a unanimous agreement from all state, territory and federal censorship ministers must be reached.
Debus also reminded gamers that any game refused classification "can not be legally imported, sold or advertised in Australia".