Australian parliament approves limited automated classification

By Brenna Hillier
5 April 2013 05:21 GMT

All Australian states and territories have signed off on seven recommendations for classification reform harvested from the 2012 National Classification Scheme Review.

Kotaku reports home affairs minister Jason Clare presented the recommendations yesterday at the Standing Council on Law and Justice, and received approvals across the board.

The most immediately interesting from a games industry perspective is a decision to “enable the use of automated classification decision making systems, starting with a pilot for mobile and online computer games”.

The Australian Law Reform Commission suggests that all games in the M15 category and lower be automatically classified, probably using a similar system to that employed by the US’s ESRB, speeding the classification process and reserving the Classification Board’s resources for the more troublesome adult categories of MA15+ and R18+.

Another interesting proposal is that creators be allowed to make “minor modifications” to games without further classification.

There are a couple of other pertinent changes, namely that 2D and 3D versions of media, including games, will no longer require separate classifications, and perhaps most importantly, the green lighting of “a program of research to examine current classification categories, symbols and community standards in relation to media content”. Such research could end the discrepancies of content classification between games and other forms of media.

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