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State attorneys-general have – at least for the moment – shelved the plan of Federal Justice Minister Brendan O’Connor to establish an R18+ rating to classify adult-only video games.

State attorneys-general have – at least for the moment – shelved the plan of Federal Justice Minister Brendan O’Connor to establish an R18+ rating to classify adult-only video games.

O’Connor had been backing calls from gaming industry stakeholders to introduce the new R18+ category and hoped to win endorsement from state attorneys-general at a Standing Committee of Attorneys-General (SCAG) meeting on Friday. But it was not be.

SCAG rejected the plan, with the ministers asking for more time to consider the issue.

Gaming industry lobby groups were disappointed with the meeting’s outcome.

Computer gaming industry lobby groups have argued that the rating is needed to protect children from adult content and O’Connor says more than 58,400 people responded to the call for submissions on the proposed new adult-only category (CDN Thursday).

“That’s an enormous response and I thank everyone who gave their views,” said O’Connor.

“Of those who responded, 98.4 percent voiced support for an R18+ computer game classification.”

Not stressed by O’Connor: most of the voters, mainly game players, had been spurred to vote by video game promoters.

Ron Curry, chief executive of the Interactive Gaming & Entertainment Association, said it was “disappointing that an adult rating for video games will be delayed once again despite mass support from the community.”

Australian Christian Lobby MD Jim Wallace says that the gaming lobby’s claims were motivated by profit.

“This is about serving the interests of an industry that is purely profit-driven and it’s absolutely disingenuous for it to try to pretend that it wants an R18 rating to protect children,” Wallace said.

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