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Australian Gamers Finally Get an R-18+ Category

samzenpus posted about 2 years ago | from the hot-coffee dept.

Australia 69

Dexter Herbivore writes "A lot of Australian gamers are saying, 'finally' as legislation passed parliament to support the introduction of a R-18+ category for games. From the article: 'Jason Clare, the Minister for Home Affairs has just announced that R18+ for games is set to become a reality, after legislation successfully passing through the Federal Parliament, having just gone through the Senate without amendment.'"

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69 comments

welcome to civilization (1)

locopuyo (1433631) | about 2 years ago | (#40360661)

Where you can legally buy a video game.
Hell, it's about time.

Re:welcome to civilization (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40360719)

Now we only have to wait the six months after it's released in the US and Japan until it's actually released here...

Re:welcome to civilization (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40360747)

Now we only have to wait the six months after it's released in the US and Japan until it's actually released here... at twice the price

FTFY

Re:welcome to civilization (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | about 2 years ago | (#40364101)

Which is something I've been wondering about, why do Aussies put up with such assraping prices? It isn't like they are hiring translators to throw some reject from a Foster's beer commercial because the folks down under can't understand American English, as far as i know you're not using some strange formats like some weird offshoot of PAL that isn't compatible with anyone else, but I've noticed when talking to Aussie gamers they are getting totally bent over not only on the hardware but the software as well, why do you put up with that shit? Hell the gaming companies might as well put a 3D Goatse on the box for the way they are ripping you guys off and if we were getting charged double just for being American damned straight we'd be throwing some giant shitfits, why aren't you?

Re:welcome to civilization (1)

aiht (1017790) | about 2 years ago | (#40365993)

if we were getting charged double just for being American damned straight we'd be throwing some giant shitfits, why aren't you?

We are. I think maybe there just aren't enough of us for the international gaming giants* to give a shit.



* I mean the development companies, of course, not the superstar gamers.

Re:welcome to civilization (4, Informative)

psiclops (1011105) | about 2 years ago | (#40366119)

we don't [slashdot.org]

As a consumer i can't force distributors to charge less to aussie retailers, i can't force retailers to sell at a lower price. i can't force online stores to not charge higher prices for digital downloads just because i'm in australia.

my options are:
a) try and find someone online that will ship to australia with at reasonable price(incl shipping).
b) get an overseas v.p.n. possibly credit card and pretend i'm overseas to buy digital copies at a reasonable price.
c) pirate
d) give up and pay inflated prices

Re:welcome to civilization (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | about 2 years ago | (#40366201)

Damn, I wish I had about 10 grand to cover startup costs as it sounds like a great business opportunity, I could sell at cost plus 20% and the Aussies would be getting a great deal and I'd be making a nice profit for myself. I'm right next to two of the major distribution hubs so I get nearly anything in 2-3 days max, usually next day. I'd just have to figure a way around getting screwed by fake CC numbers, bitcoin maybe? Because at the prices you guys are getting charged the USA might as well be Mexico, Other than the new releases most games are less than $20 here but from what i've been told a game has to be pretty ancient before the prices go down there, damned shame the way you guys are getting hosed.

Re:welcome to civilization (1)

mjwx (966435) | about 2 years ago | (#40366743)

Damn, I wish I had about 10 grand to cover startup costs as it sounds like a great business opportunity, I could sell at cost plus 20% and the Aussies would be getting a great deal and I'd be making a nice profit for myself. I'm right next to two of the major distribution hubs so I get nearly anything in 2-3 days max, usually next day.

A pretty bad business plan as you'll be competing with companies that already ship to Australia like Play-Asia (HK), Zavvi (UK) or DVD.co.uk (erm, UK) also with existing drop shippers like Oz Game Shop and the fact that retailers like JB HiFi are finally realising that the prices they pay for games are bullshit and have started direct import, bypassing the local distributor.

Parallel importing has been legal for some time. The last game I bought locally was Starcraft 2 and I only did that because I wanted it on release day, even then SC2 was cheaper them most games (A$70 compared to A$90).

Re:welcome to civilization (2)

donaldm (919619) | about 2 years ago | (#40366909)

why do Aussies put up with such assraping prices?

If you want the latest AAA game in Australia you normally have to shell out over AU$100, however you can order games from anywhere in the world and if you have a PS3 you can play that game (most xbox360 games can also be played as well). The problem with ordering from overseas is the cost of shipping which can be quite expensive. There are sites such as here [wowhd.com.au] that normally get their games from Hong Kong and in Australia shipping is free although you may have to wait up to two weeks for delivery.

Still if you really have to have a particular game from day 1 then you have to pay the exorbitant price for it.

As for the the old NTSC and PAL standards. In Australia you would be really hard pressed to get a pure PAL TV, just about all new TV's here are HD (LCD, LCD/LED and Plasma) and are commonly 1080p with support for 720p as well as the other standards 1080i, NTSC and PAL.

Unfortunately Australia has a population of just over 22 million while the USA has a population of about 313 million (not including Canada) so in terms of consumer push Australia is fairly weak and is probably not seen as a major import market for electronic games. What is really starting to upset the major retailers here is many people are becoming aware that you can save a considerable amount of money if you buy on-line with an interesting effect that many retailers are actually meeting on-line prices if the item you want to purchase is from an Australian company.

Re:welcome to civilization (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40360783)

What's that? I think that's the sound of a dingo eating your baby. Oh, well, nothing of value was lost. Better go throw some more shrimp on the barbie and chug down a few Foster's.

Re:welcome to civilization (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40360855)

Since when did Australians care about doing things legally? Isnt that how they got there to begin with?

Re:welcome to civilization (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40360933)

Did you know that pederasty was the second most popular past-time in Australia? Only Rugby ranks higher with throwing shrimp on the barbie, throwing boomerangs and drinking Foster's round out the top 5.

Re:welcome to civilization (5, Informative)

Dexter Herbivore (1322345) | about 2 years ago | (#40361321)

Whilst I know that you are trolling, I'd like to let most people know that Australians haven't drunk Fosters for more than 20 years. It's the horse piss that we export, similar to Coronas for Mexicans. Oh, and rugby is only big in 2 of our 7 states, the rest of Australia tends to prefer Australian Rules football. Most Australians don't know how to throw a boomerang, and we call shrimp 'prawns'. Drop Bears [australianmuseum.net.au] are real though, watch out for them.

Re:welcome to civilization (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40361495)

Says the pederast.

Re:welcome to civilization (1)

Creepy (93888) | about 2 years ago | (#40362229)

Actually, it wouldn't surprise me if that were true at one time... while I don't know how rampant pederasts were, in the late 1700s when Australia was established as a penal colony, they only sent men and boys. I believe it was the second or third ship when the prisoners at Botany Bay begged the next load to include women because the situation was "getting out of hand" (I think those were the exact words) and a couple ships after that before they actually got women, mostly prostitutes, if I recall correctly.

Re:welcome to civilization (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40362445)

when Australia was established as a penal colony, they only sent men and boys.

Mate, that's just plain wrong. 34% of convicts on the First Fleet [wikimedia.org] were female.

Re:welcome to civilization (1)

Capsaicin (412918) | about 2 years ago | (#40365665)

... in the late 1700s when Australia was established

Australia* was established on 1 January 1901. [*as a political rather than a geographical entity]

Re:welcome to civilization (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40364383)

Says the pederast.

You better stay out of Australia, mate, otherwise you may [wikipedia.org] find other surprises [ndtv.com] waiting for you.

Re:welcome to civilization (2)

HornWumpus (783565) | about 2 years ago | (#40361669)

I doubt you export much of it. The piss (of this type) sold in the USA is brewed in Canada. It's even worse then 'real' Fosters.

You are wrong about Corona though. Mexicans love that piss, don't ask me why, 'Miller High Life' cost much less and tastes exactly the same.

Re:welcome to civilization (2)

HarrySquatter (1698416) | about 2 years ago | (#40361985)

Yep, Corona is the #1 selling beer in Mexico, the top-selling imported beer in the US and in the top 5 best-selling beers worldwide. It's quite a mystery why it's so popular.

Re:welcome to civilization (1)

mjwx (966435) | about 2 years ago | (#40366759)

Yep, Corona is the #1 selling beer in Mexico, the top-selling imported beer in the US and in the top 5 best-selling beers worldwide. It's quite a mystery why it's so popular.

Because everyone shoves a slice of lemon in the top to disguise the fact it tastes like horse piss and damn few people have figured that out.

Adding lemon or lime to beer is a crime, if the beer is so crap that you need to disguise the flavour it's not worth drinking.

Re:welcome to civilization (1)

adolf (21054) | about 2 years ago | (#40367373)

It's quite a mystery why it's so popular.

Easy. Being environmentally-aware (reduce, reuse, recycle) is important to folks these days. Drinking recycled beer (aka Corona) is better for Mother Earth than drinking new beer.

Everyone else seems to understand this, and feels a pang of regret whenever they snap the top off of a freshly-brewed beer. I'm alarmed that you don't.

Re:welcome to civilization (1)

Creepy (93888) | about 2 years ago | (#40362797)

I doubt you export much of it. The piss (of this type) sold in the USA is brewed in Canada. It's even worse then 'real' Fosters.

You are wrong about Corona though. Mexicans love that piss, don't ask me why, 'Miller High Life' cost much less and tastes exactly the same.

I disagree - Corona tastes and smells like it was brewed with toilet water, which it probably was, Miller High Life has that nasty rice aftertaste like all mass brewed American beers (which are brewed with rice that didn't separate from the chaff and would be thrown away otherwise). I honestly can't tell the difference between Miller, Coors, Budweiser, etc anymore - all I taste is the rice (or corn, which is worse - think Hamms) aftertaste. And Mexicans drink Corona (or Sol) because they are the cheapest beers, just like most Americans drink Miller, Coors, Budweiser, or name your mass produced piss beer.

Re:welcome to civilization (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | about 2 years ago | (#40363263)

I see them paying $US14/12 pack all the time. I can only attribute it to stupidity or homesickness for toilet water.

I've just classified them with the Irish. Groups of people who like 'beer' that tastes like shit to everybody else.

Re:welcome to civilization (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40367361)

Guinness is 50% of the Irish beer market. It's far better than the most popular beers in most countries, even countries like Belgium or the Czech Republic which are known for their quality beers.

Re:welcome to civilization (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | about 2 years ago | (#40375533)

Guinness is piss. Try 'Obsidian Oatmeal Stout'; you will never drink Guinness again. Pilsner Urquel is far better (though very different) beer. Even there local microbrewed copies are generally better.

Re:welcome to civilization (1)

metrix007 (200091) | about 2 years ago | (#40362667)

Mexicans drink Corona, though. It isn't horsepiss. We only have 6 states. We call "cocktail shrimp" shrimp. Drop bears are retarded.

Re:welcome to civilization (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40364049)

There are 5 states that play Rugby. You're thinking of the watered-down version called League.

Re:welcome to civilization (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40365199)

That should be 4 states and one territory. /pedant

Re:welcome to civilization (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40364685)

Oh, and rugby is only big in 2 of our 7 states, the rest of Australia tends to prefer Australian Rules football.

Um, we have six states. I guess it's tricky to keep count once you get past three, though.

Re:welcome to civilization (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40365893)

Whilst I know that you are trolling, I'd like to let most people know that Australians haven't drunk Fosters for more than 20 years. It's the horse piss that we export, similar to Coronas for Mexicans.

Actually Aussies have been drinking Fosters for the entire time: they re-badge it here as CROWN LARGER and charge a premium for it :-P

Re:welcome to civilization (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40365629)

throwing shrimp on the barbie

Shrimp?! I reckon you've got us confused with the early Israelites (you know Abe and Jepthah)? Even if they are too short to be any good at Aussie Rules, we still wouldn't put our kids on the barbie. Christ mate!!! Your right about one thing though, all those rock chopper priests around the place sure have been keeping themselves busy. Seems to be a pretty world-wide phenomenon, mind.

Re:welcome to civilization (1)

Haoie (1277294) | about 2 years ago | (#40363421)

Little too late for all the games which got refused classification in Aus, and consequently weren't released here in NZ!

Re:welcome to civilization (1)

donaldm (919619) | about 2 years ago | (#40366765)

The problem is this legislation has to be endorsed by all state governments and it only takes one state (six off) to stymie the whole proposal.

must suck to live outside the USA (0)

alen (225700) | about 2 years ago | (#40360739)

worst case we have to buy something with a warning label. other countries its illegal to sell stuff with bad words in the dialogue

Re:must suck to live outside the USA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40362863)

other countries its illegal to sell stuff with bad words in the dialogue

While in the US it's economic suicide to sell a game with pixelated nipples.

No 18+? No problem! *fantasy* (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40360777)

Fantasy:

"No 18+ category? Hallelujah, no restrictions on selling adult-oriented materials!"

Oz reality up until now:

"No 18+ category? Dangit, I guess it's Farmville and Angry Birds and more tame stuff for everyone."

i got uncontrollable chicken korma farts (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40360787)

they just squeeze out my ass and i'm powerless to stop them, wtf this is fucked. any h1b bros got tips for dealing with this shit?

premature elation (5, Informative)

Cyko_01 (1092499) | about 2 years ago | (#40360795)

Each state still needs to pass complementary legislation for it to become a reality since classification remains a state issue

Re:premature elation (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40361363)

premature elation

A very significant concern now that Aussies finally can buy ... ... oh, wait, sorry, I misread the title of your post.

Re:premature elation (4, Interesting)

SurfaceMount (749329) | about 2 years ago | (#40365399)

since classification remains a state issue

Yep and its still the same story there, only takes one state to block it.
I predict there will be a dispute about what classifies as 18+, religious groups will want the current 15+ to become the new 18+, with what should be 18+ remaining banned from local sale. Backwater religious dominated state wont get their way, so will refuse to sign the new legislation.

Not holding my breath for any advancement to actually take place, all that will happen, if anything, is that current 15+ games will require 18+ photo id to purchase like alcohol.

Re:premature elation (1)

dbIII (701233) | about 2 years ago | (#40365911)

Actually the big deal here is after a decade or more of negotiation all of the states finally agreed.
It came so close so many times, and then a newly elected government in a state would get some cheap "for the children" publicity with a single press release to throw a spanner in the works.

I bet now (1)

Dyinobal (1427207) | about 2 years ago | (#40360807)

I bet now a bunch of retailers refuse to carry +r18 games, so publishers/developers still will make censored versions for Australia.

Re:I bet now (2)

Dexter Herbivore (1322345) | about 2 years ago | (#40361375)

Since Game went out of business, we only have small retailers, EB games and chain stores. Chances are you're right but at least we can import without classification restrictions now.

Re:I bet now (1)

Sir_Sri (199544) | about 2 years ago | (#40363067)

EB is owned by the mega giant game company gamestop.

But even then, the world is moving digital. Now you'll be able to list XBL, PSN and Steam/impulse/windows store etc. games that are R18.

Re:I bet now (1)

HTH NE1 (675604) | about 2 years ago | (#40373455)

Just like how ESRB Ao-rated games are listed on XBL, PSN, etc. in the US today. Oh, wait: the console makers don't allow any Ao-rated games to be played on their hardware in the US.

Plus the console makers can excuse themselves by saying they were never designed for the R-18+ rating and opt not to push an update to recognize and thus enable their play, to preserve their family-friendly image.

Re:I bet now (1)

Sir_Sri (199544) | about 2 years ago | (#40379093)

AO is effectively banned. ESRB M and PEGI 18 are both available on the various networks.

The last tier of censorship and categorization exists as place to to dump material that doesn't appear to have any value.

Re:I bet now (1)

Swampash (1131503) | about 2 years ago | (#40361451)

prediction: every game that is presently "MA15" will get moved to "R18", and everything that is banned... will remain banned.

Re:I bet now (2)

Sir_Sri (199544) | about 2 years ago | (#40363093)

That's unlikely. Everything that is currently banned was banned because it was not deemed not appropriate for 15-18 year olds, and there was no way to have an adult rating.

Imagine trying to have 'children;s' television/books/etc. What counts as 'children's'? exactly? There is, I think, a reasonable point at which some content is not appropriate to marketed as for some ages. Even if you're not talking about sex and violence you're talking about material the child might understand (material for 8 year olds and material for 4 year olds both have no objectionable content, but they're aimed at a different level of language comprehension). That's about where australia was with games, treating them like games were only for children, and therefore had to be restricted to content that children could see and grasp.

Then some people who grew up with that stupidity got elected to australian parliament, and got real jobs and make donations to political parties. And now those poor sods down under are catching up with the rest of us.

So, anything goes? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40361479)

Since they're creating an R-18+ category, meaning adults only, I would assume that all bets are off as far as content right? I mean, short of content that is actually illegal (whatever that is in Aussie-land ... ).

Or will they still be censoring content that has R-18+ attached to it? If they are, then what is the point of the category? Or, would an UR (UnRated) Category be needed as well?

I'd make a crack about Puritanism and free will, but this whole scenario is just downright sad to begin with.

Re:So, anything goes? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40361825)

Where are the pornographic games? Sorry, I don't speak Japanese!

Re:So, anything goes? (1)

Nidi62 (1525137) | about 2 years ago | (#40362041)

Because an interactive porn game would just get the controller sticky. And I don't even want to think about the vibrate function.

Re:So, anything goes? (2)

MilwaukeeMadAss (2521372) | about 2 years ago | (#40362605)

Of course if it's marketed as some kind of medical evaluation for the prostrate, you can side-step the pr0n label and go right to Health Awareness

Re:So, anything goes? (1)

EdIII (1114411) | about 2 years ago | (#40362769)

kind of medical evaluation for the prostrate

So it is a medical evaluation for those who are laying flat?

Re:So, anything goes? (1)

Sir_Sri (199544) | about 2 years ago | (#40363133)

It moves a threshold. It's not that all bets are off. All of the British devolved countries inherited some sort of official censorship board, which will have gone through various stages of renaming and so on. But there will still be material that in some way offends the senses and isn't considered suitable for any agegroup. If the Aussie politicians are smart (good luck with that) they'll just adopt the PEGI system and be done with it. But I'm sure they'll find a way to waste money ensuring local sensibilities are met.

Re:So, anything goes? (1)

Whippen (2018202) | about 2 years ago | (#40363489)

Previously, the highest rating available for games was MA15+ (Mature Audiences), which is meant for 15-18 year olds. If a game was not able to fit in this category for any reason (language, sex, nudity, etc), then it was placed in Refuse Classification. There are other ways for a game to receive an RC status, such as promoting serious crimes, pedophilia, etc. Note that RC exists for films, books and magazines too - its just that these other categories have R18 and X18 categories available, meaning there is much greater scope for being able to correctly rate a piece of media.

And don't be fooled by the term RC. It is legal to purchase or possess RC material (with exceptions such as child pornography), but illegal to sell, publish and show in public. Import restrictions prevent importing RC material, but AFAIK, the case of if downloading is considered importing was never defined in legislation, nor tested in court.

It's also noteworthy that the idiot we have a Federal Communications Minister, Stephen Conroy, is planning to have his mandatory Internet filter block all RC content. Before this new legislation, a screenshot from a game not suitable for 15 years would have been blocked for every Australian, if the filter was already in place. There is a review happening on the RC category, but considering there has been significant noise about the R18+ category for games happening for a good 5 years, I can't see much else changing.

Re:So, anything goes? (1)

lazybeam (162300) | about 2 years ago | (#40364179)

It's also noteworthy that the idiot we have a Federal Communications Minister, Stephen Conroy, is planning to have his mandatory Internet filter block all RC content

He's gone quiet on the internet filter lately, since he's realised that it has been detracting from his good idea (The NBN) but the filter was only for child pornography and real illegal things. Not that I don't disagree it could have been expanded in the future - I don't agree with any kind of government filtering - but "blocking all RC content" would be completely impossible, since the block list would be bigger than the Great Firewall of China! And with the NBN fully operational the block list would actually be harder to implement/justify.

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