UPDATE: Games industry legal professional, Josh Cavaleri, has confirmed for me over Twitter that the publishers will not need to front the cost of the re-review. No, the Australian taxpayers will foot the bill. What a way to use our money, folks.
Twelve MA15+ rated games are going to go through a re-review process, following the South Australian Attorney General’s request to have them reconsidered. This decision to make the request was “under the guidance of the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM)” – or in other words publishers are about to go through a costly process out of a ‘concern for the children’ (which is amusing because most children can’t access these games as is).
It’s worth nothing that this review typically costs $28,000 per game (a total cost to publishers of $336,000). There’s no indication of whether the fee will be waived in this case. I would assume not because this is Australia.
The games that are affected are: Killer is Dead, Alien Rage, Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell Blacklist, Deadly Premonition the Director’s Cut, Company of Heroes 2, God Mode, Borderlands 2: Add-on Content Pack, Fuse, Deadpool, The Walking Dead, Gears of War: Judgment, and The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct.
Once again, each of these games has already been rated MA15+ and children cannot access these games already. Ron Curry, the CEO of industry body iGEA, said in a statement: ““Not only have these games already been examined against stringent guidelines, we also haven’t heard of any formal complaints made by parents or adults who think the video games are wrongly classified. The review is an unwarranted and costly exercise to satisfy a vocal yet unrepresentative minority.”
I couldn’t agree more. Over and over again the Australian classifications system has proven itself to be a woefully unrepresentative system. This would be irritating if it was harmless, but in making its truly insane decisions and allowing such frivolous re-reviews of existing games the Classification Board is doing a truly terrible job of its most critical function; providing guidance to consumers about the content within a game.
It’s impossible to take the information found on those classification stickers on the box seriously when it’s a completely random process that dictates what is found on the sticker. Or the sticker is able to be challenged by hyper-conservative interest groups that are not interested in the games being given rational ratings at all.