The Australian Classification Board has today released guidelines for the implementation of an R18+ rating for video games, which will come into effect next year.
The document, which you can read in full here, outlines the different criteria used by the board to determine the "impact" of violent or mature content on consumers. For instance, it claims that impact may be higher where a scene or game-play sequence "contains greater detail, including the use of close-ups and slow motion".
Most notably, the document makes claims regarding the "interactivity" of video games, and how that characteristic uniquely affects the medium's classification. "There are differences in what some sections of the community condone in relation to passive viewing, or the effects passive viewing may have on the viewer (as may occur in a film) compared to actively controlling outcomes by making choices to take or not take action."
Meanwhile, video games containing "illicit or proscribed drug use related to incentives or rewards", or "interactive drug use which is detailed and realistic" will be automatically refused classification.
Other factors that may lead to a game being refused classification once R18+ is introduced include actual sexual activity, "explicit and realistic" simulated sexual activity, actual sexual violence and implied sexual violence that is "not justified by context or related to incentives or rewards".
For all the details, the document is here.