Video games retailer EB Games today revealed it had received over 46,000 submissions from customers in support of a new R18+ Australian classification category for games.
Several weeks ago, the retailer threw what it said was its full support behind the push. The lack of an R18+ classification has resulted in various popular games — such as Left 4 Dead 2 — being censored for the Australian market or refused classification so that they are unable to be sold locally.
Some game publishers have been forced to modify their games prior to release in Australia.
As part of its push for the rating, EB Games had given customers the chance to sign a submission in stories and online that will form part of the retailer’s overall submission into a review of the R18+ idea being held by the Federal Attorney-General’s Department.
30,000 of the submissions were hand-signed in EB Games’ stores over the past two weeks, with another 16,000 collected online in conjunction with Grow Up Australia, an organisation also pushing for a R18+ rating.
“The responses that we have received in just two weeks have been simply phenomenal,” said EB Games managing director Steve Wilson. “This groundswell of support has proven in no uncertain terms and for all, that there is not just a minority calling for this change, but rather everyday Australia.”
The retailer will hand all of the signed submissions — which is said equated to 158kg of paper — to the Attorney’s General’s Department this week.
“This introduction of an R18+ rating in Australia is overdue and we have welcomed this opportunity to show the Government that this is an issue that is not only supported by the gaming industry, but also by the majority of Australias,” said Wilson.
One of the main stumbling blocks in front of the campaign for a R18+ rating is South Australian Attorney-General Michael Atkinson, who is facing a pro-R18+ classification candidate — 21-year-old avid gamer Kat Nicholson — in his own political electorate in the state’s upcoming election.
With the formation of other digital rights parties like the Pirate Party of Australia, Nicholson has said that Generation Y has come of age and has started talking about issues that previously might have been ignored. She sees an R18+ rating as an inevitability, with her party, Gamers4Croydon, willing to keep campaigning until it becomes a reality.