Australian Classification Board upholds ratings after Rau’s “unwarranted, costly” review

By Brenna Hillier, Tuesday, 17 December 2013 00:13 GMT

The Australian Classification Board has made no changes to the classification of a dozen games which South Australian attorney general John Rau insisted undergo review, a move local trade body the IGEA has described as unnecessary.

The Board has not released a full report at time of writing, but in a press release said simply that a full review had upheld the previous classification on all 12 games.

The Interactive Games & Entertainment Association, ASusralia’s major trade body, said it “welcomed” the Board’s decision.

“However, the industry body maintains the review imposed by the South Australian Attorney General and the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) was unwarranted, costly and only served to confirm the Classification Board’s ability to accurately apply the classification guidelines,” the organisation noted in a press release.

The IGEA noted that “none of the video games identified received any formal consumer complaints nor was any content identified as being highly contentious”.

“The basis for the classification review was unsubstantiated and it is a shame that the exercise was undertaken in the first place,” IGEA CEO Ron Curry said.

“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.”

While decrying the review process, the IGEA did indicate its support for more substantial classification reform, following the rather wishy-washy addition of an R18+ ratings category in January 2013 without implementation of any of the other recommendations made by the Australian Law Reform Commission in 2011.

“Most people don’t realise that our current classification scheme was developed over 20 years ago in a ‘pre-Internet’ environment where the only way for consumers to buy video games was at a physical retailer,” Curry added.

“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.”

Both the ALRC and the IGEA have called for an indystry-driven classifications system similar to the ESRB or PEGI.

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