Understanding Video Game Ratings in Australia
Like movies and TV, video games also use a ratings system to indicate the age group the game is appropriate to.
Not all countries use the same rating system, we use our own here in Australia, while in America the standard is called the ESRB.
In Australia the rating system is as follows:
General (G), Parental Guidance (PG) and Mature (M)
These classifications are advisory categories. This means there are no legal restrictions about viewing and/or playing these films and computer games.
The content is very mild in impact
The G classification is suitable for everyone. G products may contain classifiable elements such as language and themes that are very mild in impact.
Parental Guidance (PG)
The content is mild in impact
The impact of PG (Parental Guidance) classified films and computer games should be no higher than mild, but they may contain content that children find confusing or upsetting and may require the guidance of parents, teachers or guardians. For example, they may contain classifiable elements such as language and themes that are mild in impact.
PG-rated content is not recommended for viewing by people under the age of 15 without guidance from parents, teachers or guardians.
The content is moderate in impact
Films and computer games classified M (Mature) contain content of a moderate impact. M-rated films and computer games are not recommended for children under the age of 15. They include portrayals of elements such as violence and themes that require a mature outlook.
However, children under the age of 15 may legally access this material as the classification rating is an advisory category.
Parents, teachers and guardians may need to find out more about the specific content before deciding whether the material is suitable for children in their care.
Mature Accompanied (MA 15+) and Restricted (R 18+)
The following classification categories are restricted categories. This means there are legal restrictions on viewing and/or playing these films and computer games.
Mature Accompanied (MA 15+)
The content is strong in impact
MA 15+ rated material contains strong content and is legally restricted to people over the age of 15. It contains elements such as sex scenes and drug use that could have a strong impact on the viewer.
A person may be asked to show proof of their age before purchasing or viewing an MA 15+ film or computer game.
Children under the age of 15 may not legally watch, buy or hire MA 15+ rated material unless they are in the company of a parent or adult guardian. Children under the age of 15 who go to the cinema to see an MA 15+ film must be accompanied by a parent or adult guardian for the duration of the film. The parent or adult guardian must also purchase the ticket for the child. The guardian must be over the age of 18 and exercising parental control over the child.
Restricted (R 18+)
The content is high in impact
R 18+ material is restricted to adults as it contains content that is considered high in impact for viewers. This includes content that may be offensive to sections of the adult community. A person may be asked for proof of their age before purchasing, hiring or viewing R 18+ films and computer games at a retail store or cinema.