Australia is set to update the age rating system for video games, adding a new 18+ category which should allow for the more violent of games to be sold in the country.
The current maximum age rating for a console or PC game is 15+. If a title didn't meet the specifications for this age it was denied a rating and was therefore not allowed to go on sale. This didn't necessarily mean the game never hit the shelves, but it could only do if tweaks were made to remove some of the most violent or questionable content.
The first parliamentary session in the new year is set for the 7th February - giving the poor fellas a nice long break - where the bill to introduce the new age rating will be voted on by the lower house. If it passes there, it will go on to the senate, which has the ability to pass it into law.
Current minister for human services and ex federal minister for home affairs, Brendan O'Connor, is the man behind the bill and he's been pushing it forward for quite some time according to Games Industry (requires free account sign up). Thanks to his vocal public support, it is believed the bill will pass easily in its first parliament debate, though the outcome of the senate hearing is still up in the air.
However, Australian's should take heart that many minor members of the senate have voiced their support of the bill, suggesting that it should carry through to law.
Some of the most well known games that were previously refused classification include Manhunt 2, Left 4 Dead 2, Fifty Cent: Blood in the Sand and Witcher 2 - though all but the first one were eventually released with changes made to reduce certain elements of violence and sexual content.