Australia, a place where one of our writers resides, isn’t exactly the best place to be for games, especially ones with crude humour and gratuitous violence. With Australia’s classifications board being notoriously strict, a new scheme will have them giving the stink-eye to several hundred digital and mobile games from today.
Though the new classification method doesn’t really come into place until today, that hasn’t stopped Australia from sending out a sweeping ban on games such as Douchebag Beach Club, Drunk Driver and HoboSimulator, since March.
This new classification method focuses more on digital and mobile storefronts and is also a part of Australia’s move to participate in the global pilot program that’s attempting to regulate games released online using the International Age Rating Coalition, a new initiative which began in March and already has the UK, USA, Canada, Brazil, and most of Europe on board.
The IARC system now requires developers to detail exactly what their game is about with a questionnaire asking whether the game has content such as violence, crime, sexuality, gambling, language, discrimination, controlled substances, and much, much more. These answers are then converted into a local age rating using standards set by each individual rating board.
For example, Google Play now has PEGI rating in the UK.
IARC content ratings can be amended or changed based on player complaints, so developers can’t trick the system for too long.
Since announcing this a few months ago, the Australian Classifications Board went through their back-catalogue of games which featured over 150,000 titles and “refused classification” for over 260 titles, all of which have been listed on the Australian Classification Board website.
Though Google Play and Firefox Store has both adopted the IARC system, many digital storefronts are yet to participate with the Xbox Store, PlayStation Network, and Nintendo eShop planning to participate at a later date.
As for Apple’s App Store, well that has its own internal rating system and shows no plans to participate in the IARC system therefore won’t be affected by Australia shiny new ban hammer.