Australian Law Reform Commission: Game Industry Should Self-Regulate

March 5, 2012 -

The Australian Law Reform Commission is proposing a voluntary system where only games with a rating of MA15+ content or above would have to be classified by the Australian government. The Commission also suggested that all classification ratings for various forms of entertainment should become consistent across all forms of media. That is the conclusion of the Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) Classification-Content Regulation and Convergent Media report that was commissioned late last year by Federal Attorney-General Robert McClelland.

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Australia's R18+ Ratings Bill Sent to Inquiry Hearing

February 16, 2012 -

According to a Kotaku Australia report, the R18+ ratings bill has hit a slight snag in the Australia Parliament. According to a tweet from Ed Husic, MP for Chifley, the Coalition government has asked that the R18+ bill be sent for an inquiry. Under the rules, if one MP calls for an inquiry on a proposed bill, it must undergo further scrutiny by a Standing Committee.

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Australian R18+ Classification to Take Effect January 1, 2013

February 15, 2012 -

According to the Australian government, gamers in the country can expect the adult-level R18+ classification for video games to be in place by January 1, 2013 (thanks to Cheater87). As promised, Federal Minister for Home Affairs Jason Clare introduced the R18+ bill in parliament yesterday and announced that the federal government expects the R18+ for games legislation to officially come into effect next year.

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R18+ Ratings Classification Heading to Australia's Parliament

February 14, 2012 -

Australia's Federal Minister for Home Affairs Jason Clare announced last month tentative plans to continue the work of former Federal Minister for Home Affairs Brendan O'Connor in introducing an R18+ adult ratings classification for video games to lawmakers. At the time he said that he would introduce a bill in the February session of the parliament.

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Australia's R18+ Gets Debate and Vote in February

January 24, 2012 -

The Australian Government will finally debate and vote on an R18+ video games classification in February, according to several published reports. Former Federal Minister for Home Affairs Brendan O'Connor had taken responsibility for the bill, and had been pushing for a vote on the subject for a very long time. 

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UKIE Sells Stake in GfK Chart-Track

January 23, 2012 -

UK video game industry trade group UKIE has sold its stake in chart tracking firm GfK Chart-Track, according to a report in MCV. The trade group has reserved - but still has a deal for exclusive access to its data. UKIE held a 20 percent stake, which it sold to GfK, which has had a majority ownership of Chart-Track since 2008.

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Australian Christian Lobby Compares Games Industry to Tobacco Companies

January 12, 2012 -

Update: This story is apparently ancient history from March 2010. While it's fun to refresh your memory, it's not news. We apologize for presenting it as such.

The Australian Christian Lobby is doing its best to slow down the momentum of an R18+ ratings classification in Australia by using a new tactic: comparing mature video games to cigarettes. The group used the public consultation period for the R18+ classification to assail the games industry.

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Pro-Gaming Australian Federal Minister Brendan O'Connor Exits Home Affairs Post

December 12, 2011 -

Former Federal Minister for Home Affairs Brendan O'Connor, a staunch supporter of R18+ for games in Australia, was today renamed minister for Human Services and minister assisting the School Education. He'll be replaced by former Minister for Defence Materiel Jason Clare. Naturally he'll inherit his portfolio of issues including the R18+ ratings classification for games.

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id Software Developer Explains Why Google, Apple Avoided New ESRB Ratings System

December 1, 2011 -

The ESRB and the CTIA detailed a new ratings systems for mobile games this week - backed by such companies as AT&T, Microsoft, Sprint, T-Mobile USA, U.S. Cellular and Verizon Wireless. Two companies that were curiously absent from that list hold the lion's share of the market when it comes to platforms: Apple and Google.

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ESRB and CTIA Detail Voluntary Ratings System for Mobile Games

November 29, 2011 -

The ESRB and CTIA have finally revealed details on the voluntary rating system for mobile apps that was revealed last week. The ratings system currently has the support of six major mobile service and hardware providers including AT&T, Microsoft, Sprint, T-Mobile USA, U.S. Cellular and Verizon Wireless. Apple and Google did not throw their support behind the new ratings system because they already have their own process and system in place - and it has been refined to their satisfaction.

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ESRB, CTIA Team Up for Mobile Game Ratings

November 21, 2011 -

The Entertainment Software Review Board (ESRB) has teamed up with trade group Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association to create a standardized rating system for mobile applications and games. The ESRB says that the new ratings system will be "based on age-appropriateness of their content and context," according to Gamasutra. An official announcement on the new ratings system will take place next Tuesday in Washington, DC.

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Final Australian R18+ Guidelines Released

November 4, 2011 -

The final guidelines for the new r18+ games rating classification have been released by the Australian government (thanks to Cheater87). Federal Minister for Home Affairs Brendan O'Connor also announced that all of the states have signed off on these new guidelines. The guidelines, made public this week, finally explain the important parts of the R18+ rating, and show changes to the existing MA15+ rating.

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Australia's R18+ Rating Could Be Two Years Away

October 28, 2011 -

David Emery, manager of applications at the Australian Classification Branch, has warned the public at large in Australia that there will probably be a two year delay before the country finally sees the full implementation of an R18+ rating.

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Dr. Hoyer Goes to Redwood Shores

October 20, 2011 -

EA's official news blog chronicles a recent visit by German Deputy Foreign Secretary Dr. Werner Hoyer to the company’s Redwood Shores, California campus. Hoyer, a member of the German parliament stopped by to discuss a variety of topics related to the German games market and EA studio in Cologne, Germany.

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Australian Government May Forego Mobile and Online Game Classifications

October 13, 2011 -

Plans to classify mobile and online games in Australia may be abandoned under new legislation being introduced by the federal government. The government has proposed an amendment to the classification (publications, films, and computer games) legislation to include a temporary measure that would allow mobile and online games to be released in Australia without classification for the next two years.

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Australian Law Reform Commission Recommends Voluntary Ratings System

September 30, 2011 -

The Australian Law Reform Commission's (ALRC) review into the country's classification system has determined that that only games likely to be rated MA15+ or hired should be classified by the government. The review was commissioned late last year by Federal Attorney-General Robert McClelland. The point of the review was to find ways to reform Australia's classification laws in light of changing business models, globalization of retail, and new distribution methods.

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Underwear Optional: Nudity in Dead Island

September 26, 2011 -

When the zombie apocalypse comes, undergarments are optional. A player who obviously has too much time on his hands noticed that one of the characters in Dead Island - Xian - forgot to put her panties on. He created a ridiculously long video that rambles on for a well over a minute before showing (after the 1:55 mark) the character’s freshly shorn ..squirrel.

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South Korean Game Rating Board Targets Jackpot Items in MMO’s

September 22, 2011 -

The South Korean Game Rating Board (GRB) has accused several MMO publishers of obstructing an investigation related to in-game "jackpot items," according to a report in This Is Game. The GRB wants to know from game makers if the in-game purchase of jackpot items should be considered gambling. The Jackpot item system lets players pay a set amount of in-game currency in return for a random item of potentially greater value.

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House of the Dead: Overkill Extended Cut Refused Rating in Australia

August 24, 2011 -

According to a report in Computer & Videogames, House of the Dead: Overkill Extended Cut for the PlayStation 3 has been refused classification in Australia, even though an R18+ rating has been agreed upon "in principle" and will inevitably be launched in the country later this year.

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Australian NSW AG Backs R18+ Rating

August 10, 2011 -

Last month, Australia's attorneys-general agreed "in-principle” to introduce an R18+ ratings category for video games in the country. At the same time, NSW Attorney-General Greg Smith abstained from the R18+ vote, but promised to take the issue back to his Cabinet before making a final decision. Despite the fact that Smith abstained from voting, Federal Minister for Home Affairs Brendan O'Connor announced that the federal government would move ahead with introducing the R18+ rating for games based on the support from the remaining states and territories.

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Atelier Meruru Rating Revoked in Japan, Shipments Halted

July 28, 2011 -

Japanese game publisher and developer Gust has halted shipments of its latest Atelier role-playing game, Atelier Meruru, after the Japanese ratings board CERO raised objections to some scenes. The board said that the game featured some scenes that do not fit its "A" rating.

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ESRB Twitter Party Tonight

July 27, 2011 -

The ESRB is hosting what it calls an ESRB Twitter Party this evening starting at 9:00 pm ET, according to a post on the group's Facebook page. Twitter users can participate by sending messages with the hashtag #ESRB from 9:00 - 10:00 pm ET / 6:00 - 7:00 pm PT with any questions about video game ratings and safety. Those that participate will be eligible to win (by random drawing) a variety of prizes, such as a $50 GameStop gift card.

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EA Comments on AU R18+ Decision

July 22, 2011 -

Electronic Arts is applauding the Australian government's plans to implement a R18+ game rating in the country. EA Asia Publishing vice president Mark Bradley told GameSpot Australia yesterday that the publisher is encouraged by the Australian federal government decision to bring the country's game rating in line with other countries in Europe and North America.

"Australia needs a rating system that recognises that millions of adults play video games," Bradley said. "The current policy of the Australian government forces an arcane censorship on adults who play games--cuts they would never impose on movies, books or other forms of artistic expression. This year, the American Supreme Court voted overwhelmingly to affirm that game developers deserve the same creative freedom as film makers and authors.

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Australian Christian Lobby Asks Ministers to Slow Down on R18+

July 20, 2011 -

The Australian Christian Lobby has asked classification ministers meeting in Adelaide later this week that they should wait until the Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) completes its review of the National Classification Scheme before voting on video game classification reform that would add a new R18+ rating.

ACL spokesman Rob Ward said that news about South Australian Attorney-General John Rau's desire to reclassify existing MA15+ games as R18+ may have some merits, but going doing so independent of other jurisdictions would complicate an already confusing ratings system.

"Mr. Rau’s suggestion wouldn’t address or fix the problems inherent in the existing classification system, such as subjective and ill-defined guidelines," he said. "The system also requires proper enforcement mechanisms and consequences for publishers and retailers who breach the guidelines."

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Dead or Alive: Dimensions Re-Classified in New Zealand

July 11, 2011 -

The Nintendo 3DS game Dead or Alive: Dimensions has had its rating changed in New Zealand from a "PG" rating to "M" by New Zealand's chief censor Andrew Jack. Jack decided to re-classify the game last month after the Waikato Times newspaper alerted his office to its content. He subsequently issued an order that copies must carry an "M" label and a note indicating it contains violence and nudity.

Jack said the game had not passed through his office because the law does not require films and games already classified in the UK or Australia with an equivalent rating of G, PG or M to be reclassified in New Zealand.

The game was temporarily banned in Australia before receiving a higher rating. 

An M rating in New Zealand does not restrict sales to minors because it is an "only an advisory," according to Stuff.

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Douglas Gentile: Parents Want Universal Ratings, Minus Age Categories

June 23, 2011 -

Citing a recent study that was published in Pediatrics magazine, Douglas Gentile from the Media Research Lab at Iowa State University said that parents want a universal ratings system for all types of media, but would be better off if they didn’t have age descriptors. Besides the fact that a universal  system just won't work (different media has different descriptors that are likely not interchangeable - sort of like having universal descriptors for tobacco, drugs, and alcohol) ratings without age categories would be wildly unorganized and even more confusing.

"Regardless of what age raters set for a movie or video game, most parents will inevitably disagree," Gentile said. "With a content-based system, everyone can judge for themselves based on their own values whether a movie or video game is appropriate."

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Research: Parents Want a Universal Ratings System for Entertainment

June 20, 2011 -

New research, based on three different surveys, finds that parents want a universal ratings system for all media formats. The research, which gathered the responses of 2,300 adults from three different surveys found that most parents were generally satisfied with ratings related to television, movies, video games, music, and handheld devices. Nevertheless, a majority of surveyed felt there should be some sort of universal rating system for all media, including web sites, music CDs, and games played on handheld devices.

Some parents also said that the differences in the ratings systems for different types of media were often inconsistent and confusing, though most complained about television ratings that didn't properly convey what kinds of content a given program contained.

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Australian Classification Board Revisits We Dare Rating

June 16, 2011 -

The Australian Classification Board said this week that it will rethink the current PG (Parental Guidance) rating for Ubisoft's We Dare, a game which received heavy criticism earlier this year for its adult content and sexually suggestive mini-games. The review will be carried out on June 17 and will be conducted by the Classification Review Board. The re-review is the result of a formal complaint filed by Federal Minister for Home Affairs Brendan O'Connor. Chances are it will result in a higher rating for the title.

In March the board took some heat from the public over its decision to give the Ubisoft-published adult party game for the Wii a PG rating for "mild sexual references." A number of early media reports blamed the board for inappropriately rating the game, because of the trailer, which showed two couples engaged in some saucy and suggestive situations inspired by the game's mini-games.

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Report: PEGI Ratings Could Be Law by Year's End

June 15, 2011 -

The United Kingdom's Department for Culture, Media and Sport said this week that complex technical details are behind the delay of implementing PEGI age-ratings for video games in the UK. There is some doubt that the ratings system will become law this year, but the DCMS says that it is working hard on getting it done.

"We are working to put the scheme into implementation as soon as possible," a DCMS spokesperson told GamesIndustry.biz, but did not offer a revised timetable.

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey, UKIE, the Video Standards Council, and ratings body the BBFC, are said to be at a "delicate" stage in the negotiations. Sources familiar with the matter tell GameIndustry.biz that there is a general optimism that the system has a chance of becoming law "by Christmas." All involved want to sort out the details and get things right the first time, before pushing forward.

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UKIE Applauds Bailey Review

June 6, 2011 -

UK video game industry trade  group UKIE issued a press statement today "welcoming" the "Bailey Review of the Commercialisation and Sexualisation of Childhood." The report emphasized the need for "responsible action" of video game developers when it comes to protecting children and the positive steps the industry has taken. In its submission to the Review (found here), UKIE pointed out the positive actions the UK video games industry is already taking to protect children. Those efforts include the introduction of the PEGI age rating system for video games, responsible advertising and online ratings efforts.  UKIE (then as ELSPA) successfully lobbied the government to "enshrine" the PEGI system in the Digital Economy Act 2010.

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Andrew EisenNow, having said that, what sites are you reading that are claiming that if "you self-identify as a Gamer, you're immediately the problem" or that gamers are "obligated to stop harassment"? Or was that hyperbole too?09/21/2014 - 1:03am
Andrew EisenFirst of all, ONE person in the Shout box suggested an obligation to call harassers out on their harassing but only after YOU brought it up. Plus, Techno said "when you see it happening." If you don't see it, you're not under any obligation.09/21/2014 - 1:02am
Sleaker@Craig R. - at this point I don't even know what the hashtags are suppsed to be in support of. what does GamerGate actually signify.09/21/2014 - 12:21am
Sleaker@AE - Hyperbole for the first 2, but it seems like some of the comments in the shout are attempting to place blame on fellow gamers because they aren't actively telling people to stop harassing even though they don't necessarily know anyone that has.09/21/2014 - 12:16am
Andrew EisenSleaker - Who the heck are you reading that is claiming "all gamers are bad," we "need to pass laws or judgement on all gamers," that if "you self-identify as a Gamer, you're immediately the problem," or that gamers are "obligated to stop harassment"?09/20/2014 - 9:44pm
erthwjimhe swatted more than just krebs, I think he swatted 30 people http://krebsonsecurity.com/2014/05/teen-arrested-for-30-swattings-bomb-threats/09/20/2014 - 9:31pm
Craig R.Btw, the guy who swatted security expert Brian Krebs? He got picked up recently. It can be done.09/20/2014 - 8:55pm
Craig R.Such things are not done in a vacuum... hence why the 4chan and other logs show what fools you've all been, tricked into doing the trolls' work09/20/2014 - 8:49pm
Sleaker@Technogeek - How do you call someone out that anonymously calls in a SWAT team, or sends threats to people?09/20/2014 - 7:04pm
Technogeek"It also doesn't mean you're obligated to stop harassment from all gamers that are doing so." I'd say you're certainly obligated to call them out when you see it happening.09/20/2014 - 5:17pm
SleakerNow if you disagree with anything in my last 2 posts then we obviously have a difference in world view, and wont come to any sort of agreement. I'm fine with that, maybe some people aren't?09/20/2014 - 5:09pm
SleakerIt also doesn't mean that just because a news outlet says that Gamers are the problem and you self-identify as a Gamer, you're immediately the problem. It also doesn't mean you're obligated to stop harassment from all gamers that are doing so.09/20/2014 - 4:59pm
SleakerJust to re-iterate: People getting harassed is wrong. Just because someone is harassed by so called 'gamers' doesn't mean that all gamers are bad. nor does it mean that you need to pass laws or judgement on all gamers.09/20/2014 - 4:56pm
SleakerAnd furthermore just because someone doesn't 'crusade against the evil' that doesn't make them the problem. You can have discussion with those around you. There's a thing called sphere of influence.09/20/2014 - 4:54pm
Sleaker@Conster - one person getting harassed is a 'problem' only so far as the harassee's are doing it. Just because a select few people choose to act like this doesn't make it widespread. Nor does it immediately make everyone responsible to put an end to it.09/20/2014 - 4:54pm
james_fudgeno worries09/20/2014 - 4:15pm
TechnogeekI misread james' comment as "we can't have a debate without threatening" there at first. Actually wound up posting a shout about death threats and "kill yourself" not technically being the same thing before I realized.09/20/2014 - 3:59pm
james_fudgeDon't hit me *cowers behind Andrew*09/20/2014 - 3:20pm
ConsterYou take that back right now, james, or else. *shakes fist menacingly*09/20/2014 - 3:00pm
james_fudgeOur community is awesome. We can have a debate without threatening to kill each other.09/20/2014 - 2:50pm
 

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