Report: Australians could face an additional tax on digital goods

May 7, 2015 - GamePolitics Staff

Australian consumers might find themselves being forced to pay more for digital goods purchased overseas if the government has its way. According to PlayerAttack, goods purchased overseas and intangible services could be subject to a ten percent goods and services tax (GST). Those services could includes games from Steam, streaming services such as Netflix, eBooks, and even music and movies. iTunes already pays GST on Australian sales so its pricing will not change in the region.

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EA submits to the authority of the Australian Consumer Law

April 28, 2015 - GamePolitics Staff

Kotaku Australia reports that Electronic Arts has come to an agreement with the ACCC, the national consumer regulator for Australia, concerning giving refunds. EA said that it would not give refunds to customers of SimCity and other games bought through its Origin service way back in 2013. The Australian government disagreed and warned the publisher that it was violating the Australian Consumer Law.

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South Australian government competition lets students design national park upgrades in 'Minecraft'

April 22, 2015 - GamePolitics Staff

The South Australian State Government has launched a special program that lets students help create national park upgrades by designing and creating elements in Minecraft, according to The Lead - South Australia.

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Australian Government sets the record straight on 'Minecraft' geosciences

April 21, 2015 - GamePolitics Staff

This mildly amusing report from the Australian Government explains the different "blocks and rocks" in Minecraft and dispels the myths about what happens to them in the game (as opposed to what would "really happen"). We are sure this short report is for the benefit of youngsters who play the game and might be getting some less-than-accurate "geosciences" from it.

Here are some myth busting highlights from the report:

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Netflix apologizes to shareholders for Australian data cap deal

April 16, 2015 - GamePolitics Staff

Netflix made a deal in Australia earlier this year that it wishes it could hit the rewind button on and this week the entertainment streaming company admitted it was wrong to do so. It had good intentions, but as the old saying goes, "the road to Hell is paved with good intentions" - and it's desperately looking for an off-ramp.

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2K Australia closed, entire staff laid off

April 16, 2015 - GamePolitics Staff

2K Australia, one of the last major AAA game development studios in the country, is shutting down, Kotaku Australia reports. According to that report all employees are being laid off and the studio is being shut down. The studio was located in Canberra.

Costs were the reason the studio was shuttered according to sources speaking to Kotaku Australia, who also said that a move to Melbourne was considered at one point.

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Victoria government announces funding for four game projects

April 13, 2015 - GamePolitics Staff

Last week the Victorian Government (Australia) announced that it would put $340,000AU towards funding game developers as part of the Film Victoria’s Assigned Production Investment – Games program. The funding was announced by Victorian Minister for Creative Industries, Martin Foley, on Friday, according to MCV.

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Australian Classification Board Turns To IARC To Streamline Ratings Process

March 11, 2015 - GamePolitics Staff

The Australian Government announced this week that it would trial for one year a new system to speed up ratings for entertainment products. The Australian Classification Board will work in conjunction with International Age Ratings Coalition to use its ratings to streamline the process. A trial period will begin next month, and will be overseen by the Classification Board. The announcement was made by Michael Keenan, the Minister for Justice.

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Is Netflix Being Hypocritical About Net Neutrality in Australia?

March 4, 2015 - James Fudge

In the United States one of the strongest corporate proponents of the Federal Communications Commission's net neutrality rules is video content streaming company Netflix, but a new deal in Australia is raising the eyebrows of some rights groups who say the deal is hypocritical.

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Australia Considering 'Three-Strikes' Copyright Enforcement System

February 20, 2015 - GamePolitics Staff

According to this TorrentFreak report, Australian Internet service providers have caved in to pressure from the Australian government to create a system to deal with copyright infringers and file-sharers. A group of Australian ISPs this week published proposals (a 34-page document called the "Copyright Notice Scheme Industry Code") to deal with the issue of online piracy - drafted with the help of entertainment companies, apparently.

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'Mortal Kombat X' Rated R18+ in Australia

February 3, 2015 - GamePolitics Staff

The Australian Classification Board has rated Mortal Kombat X the highest rating it can give under its present system: R18+. The game, set for launch in late April worldwide, was given the rating due to "high impact violence, blood and gore, online interactivity."

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'Hotline Miami 2' Designer To Australian Gamer: 'Just Pirate It'

January 16, 2015 - GamePolitics Staff

If you are worried that you won't be able to play Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number in Australia due to it being refused classification in the country by the Australian Classification Board, then perhaps Hotline Miami 2 designer Jonatan Söderström (from Dennaton Games) has an answer you might like: just pirate it. At least that is what he told one fan who emailed him and offered to send him money directly to get his hands on the game when it is released later this year.

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'Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number' Refused Classification in Australia

January 15, 2015 - GamePolitics Staff

Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number has been refused classification in Australia, according to this Kotaku Australia report. A report by the Australian Classification Board explains why the game was refused classification, or given an "RC," effectively banning it from being sold in Australia. The scene in question involves implied sexual violence:

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Take-Two President: If you don't like 'GTA V,' don't buy it

December 9, 2014 - GamePolitics Staff

Speaking at the BMO Capital Markets 2014 Technology & Digital Media Conference (as chronicled by GII) today, Take-Two president Karl Slatoff said that those pushing to get Grand Theft Auto V banned in Australia should simply not buy the game if they don't like it, not get it banned from store shelves.

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Kmart Australia Joins Target Australia in Pulling 'GTA V' From Stores Shelves

December 4, 2014 - GamePolitics Staff

Kmart Australia has joined Target Australia in pulling Grand Theft Auto V from stores shelves in the country. This is not surprising considering that Wesfarmers owns both Kmart Australia and Target Australia. Still, this news is likely disheartening to Take Two, who issued a statement expressing its disappointment in Target yesterday.

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Take-Two CEO Expresses Disappointment in Target Australia's Decision to Remove 'GTA V' From Stores

December 3, 2014 - GamePolitics Staff

Take-Two Interactive CEO Strauss Zelnick has expressed deep disappointment in Target Australia's decision to pull Grad Theft Auto V from its store shelves after an online petition specifically targeted the retailer over stocking the game. That petition on Change.org called for the retailer to pull the game over first-person interactions with sex workers (mostly viewed from YouTube videos showing sex with a prostitute followed by a murder in first-person view).

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Target Australia Pulls 'Grand Theft Auto V' From Store Shelves

December 3, 2014 - GamePolitics Staff

It looks like a Change.org petition has garnered enough attention to get Grand Theft Auto V  pulled off store shelves at one major retailer in Australia, according to a GamesBeat report.

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Netflix Coming to Australia and New Zealand in Q1 2015

November 19, 2014 - GamePolitics Staff

The BBC reports that Netflix will expand its reach to Australia and New Zealand in March of 2015. The company said that it will expand to these new regions in the first quarter of next year and will have two new original series - Marco Polo and BoJack Horseman - ready to watch when the service goes live there. Pricing and programming available for Australia and New Zealand will be announced at a later date.

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Study: Active Games No Better Than Traditional Games For Children

October 16, 2014 - GamePolitics Staff

New research coming out of Australia suggest that playing active video games or banning traditional games outright does not help children who live sedentary lifestyles. Traditional and active play games make little difference to how physically active children are throughout the day, says Professor Leon Straker from Curtin University's School of Physiotherapy and Exercise Science.

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Melbourne Murder Trial Testimony Focuses on 'Call of Duty Training'

October 14, 2014 - GamePolitics Staff

Testimony in the trial of a 19-year-old from Melbourne, Australia man who stabbed a homeless person to death in January after an altercation, seems to be trying to create the defense that Call of Duty had a strong influence on the defendant's state of mind. Easton George Woodhead is facing a murder charge for repeatedly stabbing Morgan Wayne "Mousey" Perry at an encampment of homeless people living on the banks of Melbourne's Yarra River.

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'Stop The Spies' Hopes to Kill Australia's 'Mandatory Data Retention' Bill

October 7, 2014 - GamePolitics Staff

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is shining a spotlight this week on a new Australian bill that would make it so that Internet service providers in the country would have to collect and store personal user data and give law enforcement agencies access to it for up to two years. The unnamed bill, currently being referred to as the "mandatory data retention bill," will be introduced to the Australian federal parliament during the week of October 27.

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Xbox 360 Gets Price Cut in Australia

September 29, 2014 - GamePolitics Staff

Microsoft Australia has announced that it will slash the prices of several Xbox 360 models beginning on October 1. The 250GB model and the 250GB Kinect console bundle, will both see a price cut of around $100.

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Uncensored Version of 'Left 4 Dead 2' Now Available in Australia

September 15, 2014 - GamePolitics Staff

The uncensored PC version of Left 4 Dead 2 is finally available to consumers in Australia via Steam today (thanks Blue's News). The uncensored version of Valve's co-op zombie survival shooter sequel now carries an R18+ rating and is for sale - for a limited time - for 75 percent off its normal asking price.

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Sunshine Coast Researcher Seeks Data On Games That Empower Girls

September 11, 2014 - GamePolitics Staff

A researcher from the University of the Sunshine Coast (Queensland, Australia) is investigating the theory that video games can empower girls by promoting positive female identities and deliver affirmative outcomes in the lives of teenage girls.

International PhD student Katryna Starks from Los Angeles said her thesis "Game Chang(h)er: Exploring the video game design elements that may impact the agency and identity of adolescent girls," focuses on female gamers, a demographic that is not fully catered to in game design.

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'Left 4 Dead 2' Finally Gets R18+ Rating in Australia

September 2, 2014 - GamePolitics Staff

The PC version of first-person cooperative zombie survival game Left 4 Dead 2 has finally been reclassified in Australia with an R18+ rating (thanks Cheater87). The game, now has warnings for "high impact violence," "strong impact themes," and "mild impact language."

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Australian Consumer Watch Dog Group Sues Valve Over Steam Refund Policy

August 29, 2014 - GamePolitics Staff

GamesBeat reports that the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has taken Valve Software to court over its "no refunds" policy on Steam.

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Australian Government Quietly Discussing New Ways to Combat Piracy

July 25, 2014 - GamePolitics Staff

A leaked document from the Australian government reveals discussion points on implementing a potential online piracy crackdown. Among them, changing the law to bypass a 2012 court ruling by an Australian court that protected ISP iiNet from suffering for the infringements of its users, and new legislation to allow for ISP-level blocking of alleged 'pirate' sites.

Much of this is coming from Attorney-General George Brandis, but he faces the usual accusations about a lack of transparency during the preliminary phase of discussions by digital rights groups.

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Report: Western Australian Amendment Meddles With R18+ Rating

July 7, 2014 - GamePolitics Staff

On January 1, Australia finally and officially implemented an R18+ classification for games - something the government took a very long time to put in place. The goal of the rating was to allow games rated "Mature" elsewhere in the world to have a similar rating in Australia.

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'Watch Dogs' PR Stunt Leads to News Station Evacuation

May 28, 2014 - GamePolitics Staff

A public relations stunt to drum up publicity for Watch Dogs went awry, instead leading to a bomb squad showing up in an Australian news station earlier in the week, according to Kotaku. The PR stunt consisted of a package, which arrived at the offices of Ninemsn. It contained a letter and a small safe.

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Australia's Classification Review Board to Merge With Three Other Review Tribunals

May 14, 2014 - Andrew Eisen

Hey, remember that scene in the movie "Dave" where Kevin Kline's character tries to balance the budget by getting rid of a bunch of redundant or useless government programs?

Australia seems to be trying something similar.

According to The ABC, on top of 40 government bodies already slated for closure, a further 36 will be abolished with many other organizations set to be merged in order to save nearly $500 million.

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Andrew EisenSlightly Mad Studio comments on Wii U version of Project Cars: http://www.nintendolife.com/news/2015/05/exclusive_slightly_mad_studio_head_ian_bell_sets_the_record_straight_on_project_cars_wii_u05/27/2015 - 11:54am
E. Zachary KnightGamasutra has a really interesting interview with the Hatred developers. http://gamasutra.com/blogs/AlbertPalka/20150526/244229/Real_talk_with_Destructive_Creations_Hatred_interview.php05/27/2015 - 10:11am
WonderkarpLove Gamerevolutions Summary of Splatoon "It's like Double Dare found love with a roll of sushi and made a beautiful, action-packed Wii U game."05/27/2015 - 9:41am
E. Zachary KnightExtra Credits promotes SJW PC crap by discussing Rust's decision to include race but not give players a choice. ;) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eh1zfdUTqBY05/27/2015 - 9:20am
ZippyDSMleeIt would be haliarous if soemone started complaining about it in some form or another.05/27/2015 - 8:58am
E. Zachary KnightMore SJW PC crap being shoved down the throats of game designers and gamers ;) http://gamasutra.com/view/news/244376/Bloodstaineds_female_lead_Miriam_reflects_the_games_audience.php05/27/2015 - 8:43am
PHX Corphttp://www.neogaf.com/forum/showthread.php?t=1052280 USF was released a few days ago and it has a Truckload of bugs05/27/2015 - 8:24am
ZippyDSMlee2 hours of FOTNS:KR2 and my hand still hurts 0-o05/27/2015 - 7:56am
PHX Corphttps://www.kickstarter.com/projects/iga/bloodstained-ritual-of-the-night/description apparently Bloodstained: ritual of the night will have a Wii U version(through Armature Games)05/26/2015 - 9:02pm
WonderkarpSo I found out I'm Invincible Today. I drove through a Tornado and didnt even know it. was windy and torrential downpour but I drove through like a boss. 05/26/2015 - 7:35pm
ZenEnded up giving the code to Andrew so he gets to be the other guinea pig lol.05/26/2015 - 6:53pm
ZenSo...who wants to help with an experiment and get a free game for 3DS and possibly Wii U lol? Gave a friend the Wii u OlliOlli code from the Humble Bundle and it gave him the 3DS one too. Still have a 3DS code which may give a Wii U version too.05/26/2015 - 4:35pm
Zenjust wish they had been as open about development as they were with X1 and PS4. All we got were interviews saying everything was great and then this lol.05/26/2015 - 4:14pm
ZenYeah, he brought it up again as time went on and stated it was not to be taken seriously. And I am in NO way defending people who are acting like...well....the not so nice way to say "butts". And I don't personally think they haven't worked on the game, I05/26/2015 - 4:12pm
Andrew EisenSo I can see why Bell would be ultra defensive and snippety. But, again, still not an advisable thing to say.05/26/2015 - 3:57pm
Andrew Eisennot to mention horrifically insulting.05/26/2015 - 3:56pm
Andrew EisenAgreed, even out of frustration, not an advisable thing to post. As for the rest, sounds like it thought its tweeks and optimizations would work. The idea that it was stringing everyone along and not actually working on it is nearly nonsensical...05/26/2015 - 3:55pm
Zenand looking great...yet refused to even show a single screen shot while touting their open development on X1 and PS4. People are now asking if they even worked on the game or if it was dropped in the beginning & they were keeping up appearances instead.05/26/2015 - 3:53pm
ZenI understand that, but making a blanket statement to cover an entire market like that will do nothing more than push consumers away or alienate a group. Other issues stem from the interviews and public announcements they made stating the game is running05/26/2015 - 3:52pm
Andrew EisenNot an advisable thing to post, I'll grant you.05/26/2015 - 3:47pm
 

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