The Federal Government today released a report finding current research into the effects of violent video games on aggression levels of those who play them was 'contested and inconclusive'.
The report (available in full online) is part of the ongoing investigation by the Attorney-General's Department into whether Australia needed an R18+ classification scheme for video games. A broad community consultation process has also been held; but the final decision on whether a new classification will be created rests in the hands of the state and federal attorneys-general.
The lack of an R18+ classification system has resulted in various popular video games '” such as Left 4 Dead 2 '” being censored for the Australia market or refused classification so that they are unable to be sold locally. Some game publishers have been forced to modify their games prior to release in Australia, meaning some local releases have been delayed.
The report examined current research into the effects of violent video games on aggression, investigating claims by some in the community that playing such games was more likely to lead to violent behaviour in real life.
The report concluded that much of the current research had shown that playing violent video games was 'a small to moderate' risk factor, at least 'in the short term'. However, it also found that there were sufficient criticisms of the current research to reduce its relevance to governments when setting policy. For starters, the research had not been granular enough.