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The Australian Classification Review Board has completed its review of twelve games contested by the South Australian Attorney General, with all twelve MA15+ ratings remaining intact.
South Australian Attorney General John Rau asked for the review of a dozen games, claiming that they do not fall under the revamped MA15+ rating, introduced alongside Australia's R18+ rating twelve months ago.
From the Board:
In reviewing the classifications, the Review Board worked within the framework of the National Classification Scheme, applying the provisions of the Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Act 1995, the National Classification Code and the Guidelines for the Classification of Computer Games. This is the same framework used by the Classification Board.
Those games included:
Ron Curry, CEO of the Australian Interactive Games and Entertainment Association (iGEA), has previously stated that the game classification process costs approximately AU$28,000 per decision, so Rau's moves to have the games reclassified has cost the government an estimated AU$336,000.
The basis for the classification review was unsubstantiated and it is a shame that the exercise was undertaken in the first place. The 12 video games were wrongly singled out because of the different ratings received overseas; an argument that does not take into consideration the structural and cultural differences between Australia’s classification scheme and international schemes.
Curry has taken this opportunity to call for the Australian Government to implement the "largely untouched" recommendations made by the Australian Law Reform Commission in 2011. The 50+ recommendations include the call for a modern classification scheme, designed to work with the significant (and inevitable) changes in the "diversity and delivery of media entertainment". The current scheme was developed more than 20 years ago, before the internet had become a popular way to distribute and deliver content.
We need a complete overhaul of the classification scheme, where the guidelines and their application can cater efficiently to new technologies and be consistently applied to media content regardless of the platform it’s found on.
Attorney-General Rau is also involved in the South Australian advertising campaign that claims video games lead to problem gambling.
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