In Australia the R18+ rating for games issue has never been so hotly debated as it is now, thanks to the release of a federal government questionnaire urging Aussies to voice their opinions on the topic. And while there's been plenty of coverage of both the for and against sides of the argument, one vital sector of the games industry has remained silent so far--retailers.
Australian video game retailers EB Games, GAME, and Gametraders have all now spoken out, confirming that they not only unanimously support the need for an R18+ classification, but that they'd be willing to alter the way they sell adult games to accommodate the new rating if required. This includes possibly moving R18+ games to a separate section of a store or displaying them with generic covers (similar to recently introduced legislation in South Australia restricting the display of R18+ DVDs).
Gametraders' marketing director Chad Polley told GameSpot AU that: "If it has to be done, we will do it, but it would be our preference to place them in their appropriate platform section, up high, out of the view of minors. This is, of course, providing that the cover art is not deemed inappropriate for general public viewing."
GAME concurred with Gametraders, with a spokesperson saying "Although this would not be an ideal solution given our current in-store merchandising, we would, however, fully support and instigate any new legislation the government seeks fit to introduce." EB Games was more reserved saying that getting the submission paper is simply the first step in getting an R18+ rating through. EB Games also believes that an R18+ classification would be beneficial to the Australian workforce. "It would mean more jobs for Australians--as we will be able to sell customers a full scope of games without compromising the quality of those titles compared with their overseas counterparts," an EB spokesperson said.
On top of announcing their support, all three of the retailers are actively supporting the push for an R18+ rating. Gametraders has been advertising banners attempting to educate consumers on the issues surrounding the topic on its Web site for 18 months now, while GAME is offering customers the chance to fill in a survey that will then get sent off to the federal government. EB Games, on the other hand, has teamed up with Grow Up Australia to direct customers to the Grow Up Australia and EB Games official discussion paper response, which, once filled out, gets emailed through to the attorney-generalís office.
Stay tuned for information on other groups that support or block an R18+ rating for games in Australia. In the meantime, check out GameSpot AU's Aussie Games Classification FAQ feature.