A study on the impact violent video games have on players has revealed that they are no greater than movies or music clips, paving the way for R18 plus games being given the go ahead in Australia.
Games are currently limited to a top rating of MA15 plus, which means violent titles are either banned outright or have some graphic content removed.
AdvertisementIn some cases, games have been given a MA15 plus rating here despite copping an 18 plus rating overseas.
Australia's attorney-generals will meet in Canberra to discuss the introduction of an R18 plus classification for video games, bringing their ratings into line with those of films and literature.
Both the gaming community and family groups believe the adult rating is almost a certainty after Home Affairs Minister Brendan O'Connor released a research paper into their impact on encouraging violent behaviour.
The Attorney General's Department report found "there is no conclusive evidence that violent computer games have a greater impact" than other violent media.
O'Connor backed the finding, saying research rejected claims of a strong link between aggression and violent computer games.
"We need a classification system that protects young minds from any possible adverse affect, while also ensuring that adults are free to make their own decisions about what they play," News.com.au quoted him as saying.
Electronic Frontiers Australia chairman Colin Jacobs said the R18 plus rating debate was never about whether children should have access to play games designed for adults.
"It's about whether adults should be able to play games designed for adults," he stated.
Australian Christian Lobby chief of staff Lyle Shelton argued the study did show links between violent games and short-term violence and said the Attorney-General's Department had been too quick to dismiss the broader evidence.
"We believe it hasn't taken enough consideration of the body of reports that show that there is a link. We're still very concerned about violent video games and the effect that they might have on society in general, particularly young people," he added.