John Rau, Attorney-General for South Australia, has announced plans to make MA15+ games available only to those over 18.
Rau told Gamespot: “My long stated position has been to protect children by creating a clearer distinction between games that may be suitable for children and those that are suitable only for adults.”
“Therefore, my intention is that the South Australian legislation will prevent the sale of MA15+ games to minors. This move will give parents greater certainty about the appropriateness of games for their children.”
Last year, Rau had gone down the route of attempting to remove the MA15+ category altogether, leaving games still a poor second to film in terms of classification options. Rau’s position for the last long while has been that both MA15+ and R18+ games should not be be sold to anyone under 18. The Attorney-General also confirmed to Gamespot his intentions to police these restrictions a retail.
While the R18+ bill is currently being passed at a federal level, these kinds of exceptions are possible as each state must then introduce the bill into legislation in its own time and in its own way. Although it’s likely that the majority of states will simply introduce the R18+ age rating (as the ACT has already started on), there may yet be hiccups such as this one to come.
Aside from causing further confusion as to what an MA15+ category or an R18+ category actually mean (which is a distinction the proposed R18+ bill was designed to enhance rather than conflate), variance between states as to which games can be sold at which age rates will likely cause logistical difficulties, and retailers will run the risk of being punished for sales of games to minors in some states which are perfectly legal to sell to minors in others.
To register for the MCV Pacific News Digest, head to the registration page: http://www.mcvpacific.com/user/index/register/journey/register