SYDNEY-- The Australian government said on Sunday it supported the introduction of a new adult rating for computer games, a move which could see more titles allowed in the country.
Home Affairs and Justice Minister Brendan O'Connor said he supported introducing an R18+ classification for adult material but added that none of the games which are already banned would likely receive the new rating.
"I am not contemplating placing those RC (refused classification) games into an R18+ classification," O'Connor told reporters in Melbourne.
But he said the new rating could help iron out discrepancies in the current highest rating of MA15+ -- meaning it contains material not suitable for those under 15 -- and bring it into line with international standards.
O'Connor said his priority was stopping children with "very impressionable minds" from playing games with adult material, including sex and violence.
"I am concerned that there are dozens and dozens of games in this country that are currently accessible to 15-year-olds that are not accessible to minors in the United States, United Kingdom and Europe," he said.
Internet campaigners Electronic Frontiers Australia welcomed the decision, saying that much adult material had crept into the MA15+ category over time while adult gamers had been denied material available elsewhere in the world.
"It's a win from two points of view," the group's chairman Colin Jacob told AFP.
"The games that are banned can be allowed if they are found to fit in the R18+ category. And games that are MA15+ category and maybe shouldn't be can be moved up."
Although the move for a new rating has support from the federal government, it must be backed by all the states and territories to be introduced.