Coming hard on the heels of the success of 50 Shades of Grey, the new guidelines for R18+ computer games have been welcomed by Australia’s adult retailers as a major extension of the product range previously available to adult shops.

50 Shades, as well as the accessories that it promoted, was selling as well in adult shops as it was in Borders and K Mart. The new R18+ classification for video games goes into effect January 1, 2013.

“Already adult actors are making their own erotic computer games to go alongside their films,” said Patten.

Eros Association CEO Fiona Patten said that the new guidelines for erotic computer games, released Thursday by Minister for Justice Jason Clare, will allow high-level depictions of sexual activity as long as they are simulated and not real.

“The vast majority of computer games are simulated and do not use ‘real’ or ‘actual’ footage from films or still images, but the levels of fantasy and imagination are often way above what would normally be in an X rated film,” she said.

“Even though the new guidelines prohibit simulated sex scenes that are ‘explicit and realistic,’ this area will have more than 50 shades of grey to it.”

The Apple dictionary definitions of ‘simulated’ are ‘reproduced by simulation’ and ‘not genuine.’ Synonyms include ‘replicated,’ ‘pretend,’ ‘virtual,’ ‘cyber-‘ and ‘computer-generated.’  These definitions all clearly define the new R18+ computer games guidelines.

“If ‘simulated’ depictions of high level sexual activity are soon to be legal in computer games,” added Patten, “the government should consider amalgamating the two upper adult categories of R and X.

Simulated sexual depictions of penetrative intercourse are extremely real these days and with the use of enhanced CGI, Fractal Geometry and other simulated design programs, the differences between R and X will be merely academic and of little consequence to the majority of users of the two categories.”

She said that in the online environment, the difference between R and X ratings means nothing, and called on the Minister to adopt the recommendations of the Australian Law Reform Commission to recognize one platform for the classification of all content.

“Already adult actors are making their own erotic computer games to go alongside their films,” said Patten. “It is completely insane to require that the simulated depiction be rated differently from the real one when they will look almost identical.”

The Interactive Games & Entertainment Association (IGEA) was less than pleased with the new guidelines. According to joystiq.com, the association is concerned that the guidelines “state that similarly themed content is more impactful in video games than in film, and potentially more harmful,” and that they “attribute this greater impact to the medium’s interactive nature. In short, the new classification will hold games to a higher standard than film, and may see some games that were banned without the R18 classification stay banned despite its effectuation.”

The IGEA issued a statement in response that said, in part, “Given the opposition to the introduction of an R18+ category from a vocal yet unrepresentative section of the community, along with a largely conservative group of Attorneys-General, it is no surprise the new guidelines hold video games to a higher standard across a number of categories compared to film and what originally existed for video games.

“As we have previously stated, we are concerned with the acknowledgment in the guidelines that interactivity has greater impact on players, despite the Federal Attorney-General’s office publishing a literature review in September 2010 that found no evidence to support these claims.

There will be continued debate about whether the interactivity of video games has a greater impact than other forms of media, and we will continue to refer to the lack of the evidence to support these claims.”