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Post by Dan @ 05:23pm 06/01/11 | 1 Comments
Following up their extensive coverage of the R18+ video game classification saga from late 2010, Kotaku Au have another terrific article on the matter (and likely the last for a while while the process is stalled in bureaucracy).

In his latest write-up, Kotaku's Mark Serrels talks with Home Affairs Minister Brenden O'Connor, Interactive Games and Entertainment Association CEO Ron Curry and former Classification Board Deputy Director Paul Blunt for their well-educated takes on the situation as it stands.

Perhaps the most significant thing to take away from their thoughts is the notion of the possibility of an industry-regulated classification system in Australia's future. Suggesting that a setup not unlike the self-regulatory Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) the oversees video game classification in North America may well be the eventual outcome. The Home Affairs Minister's comments seem quite telling:
When we put it to Brendan that perhaps the government should pass the burden onto the games industry itself, he was surprisingly receptive.

“You know, I don’t want to jinx the findings of the Australian Law Review Commission,” he began, cautiously, “but that’s a path we may have to look at.

“I think there’ll probably have to be some sort of balance – there needs to be a complimentary approach where we work together towards some sort of self regulation.”
As someone who has no-doubt struggled with the current shoe-horning of new-media into those old standards, Paul Blunt's words lend even more support to the concept:
“I actually think it’s a waste of time to classify the amount the board are classifying now,” claims Paul. “Attempting to classify mobile games – it’s silly. It’s just silly.

“Having a system where the industry has more regulatory control, with the government overseeing it, is a far more efficient model, in my opinion. And I know that if I was still in charge of the resources I’d just say look – there’s no way we can do every app on the App Store, for example. Even if you cut it down to just the games, you’d still be buggered.

“Physically it’s just impossible to classify everything in a traditional way. And hopefully that’s the catalyst for this review.”
Of course, big overhauls like this are usually the toughest to implement, so even if there is a broad range of support for the concept across industry and government, it may very well all get tangled in partisan politics -- particularly with the whole Internet filter and NBN agendas confusing the issue.

As for the R18+ end game, Kotaku explains it's current state of suspended animation:
For R18+ there are now two separate issues, each of which will undoubtedly influence the other. First the gaming guidelines, which are currently being drafted for the next SCAG meeting in March. The other? The ALRC’s review of the entire classification process. During our conversation with Brendan O’Connor he assured us that they “were separate issues,” and that the drafting of new gaming guidelines “were already underway” – but even he couldn’t deny the possibility that the Attorneys-General would simply wait until the overall review was complete in December 2011 to make a final decision on R18+.
These things sure do seem to take a while.

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Latest Comments
Posted 08:03pm 06/1/11
I wonder what the ACL has to say about this after "claiming victory" after the last SCAG meeting lol! It may be taking a while but at least the wheels are heading in the right direction.
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