In Australia, video games will finally grow up


Australia’s new R18+ rating will lift the ban on games like Left 4 Dead 2.

Soon, Aussies will be able to get their hands on video games as the designers intended them to be played. After years of debate, Australia has finally adopted a law that will allow video-game makers to sell explicit games under a new adults-only rating: R18+.

Until now, the highest rating was M15+. But games under that rating were limited in what they could show, and dozens of games, such as Left 4 Dead 2, were banned or forced to alter their content in order to be sold in Australia.

The new rating — and sales of R18+ games — will kick off January 1, 2013. The new law is designed also to restrict the sales of games with the rating to buyers under 18. A with the United States, there’s still the possibility that adults will buy these games for teens. As it stands now, many folks are able to buy them from neighboring New Zealand and/or order them online.

Here in the United States, we’ve often compared the rates of juvenile violent crime to sales of violent video games, and many have found that as violent games have increased in prevalence, violent crimes have declined. Interestingly, in Australia, juvenile violent crime has held steady in some regions and gone up in others. While this doesn’t prove that lack of access to gory games causes kids to become violent, it does show that violent games aren’t the problem; something else is to blame. Alas, there are no new statistics on how German teens are faring, following last year’s decision to lift the ban on Doom.

So, what do you think will happen in Australia, now that these games are available?

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