The Australian government is tweaking its National Classification Scheme, by putting forth new legislation that makes the process of classifying content such as mobile and online games faster and more cost effective. For example, new proposals will make it so that films released in multiple formats (for example, 3D versions) won't have to go through the classification process twice. The legislation will also remove the need for reclassification when minor changes are made to video games such as software updates or bug fixes, or when new but minor content is added.
While a lot of the changes have more to do with the ratings related to television and film in the region, the changes of note related to video games include abolishing the legally binding age restriction on MA15+ rating and making it an advisory guidance; applying uniform classification categories to content across multiple platforms, including online and mobile; creating a single agency to regulate the classification of media content, handle complaints and educate the public about the system, but keep the Classification Board for films and computer games; renaming the RC (refused classification) category as "Prohibited" and scrapping the MAV15+ and AV tags used by some broadcasters.
"The Coalition Government is committed to providing consumers and industry with a modernized National Classification System that is better equipped to manage content in a rapidly changing, global and convergent media environment," Justice Minister Michael Keenan said. "These reforms are the first step in the process of ensuring our classification system continues to be effective and relevant in the 21st century. We need to improve the effectiveness of this scheme, enhance compliance with state and territory classification laws and provide more classification information, specifically to parents and young people."
"Ultimately we aim to deliver benefits to industry by reducing administrative red tape and the regulatory burden, whilst continuing to provide consumers with important classification information," he added.
We will continue to follow this story as it develops.