242 games video games in Australia have been refused classification by the Australian Classification Board since March 18th 2015.
This means that in Australia any game with refused classification is illegal to advertise, sell, and exhibit publicly.
The games denied classification is prohibited by the same body which refused classification for Saints Row IV upon its release in 2013. The 242 games are mostly mobile games sold online, which marks a notable change in method and in magnitude from the mere 50 titles refused classification between 1994 and 2014.
The spike is due to the adoption of a new regulatory measure developed by the ‘International Age Rating Coalition’ (IARC). The IARC have given developers a tool by which answering questions about the content of their game will yield a regional rating appropriate to the ‘local standards’ where the game is sold.
An IARC rating will therefore differ from one location to another depending on which rating scheme applies. Australia, with its draconian Classification Board, can look forward to further bans as the country officially enters the coalition July 1st.
As ABC Online’s Benjamin Sveen reports, the questionnaire used by developers to achieve a rating is composed of hundreds of sub-categories ranging from inquiries about nudity to those of vile depictions.
“Whether their game contains fictitious creatures that bare naked breasts, offering the example of a harpy,” is a sample from the questionnaire.
Another question reads: “Does the game contain any bodily functions such as belching, flatulence, or vomiting when used for humorous purposes?”
Parties dissenting to Australian censorship have expressed concern over the expedient, clandestine, and unaccountable process by which Games are refused classification. The website www.refused-classification.com stated that “the Classification Board has reverted back to their secret ways, but claim they will give the reason if you ask” when commenting on how the recent bans “reveal censorship on a scale never before seen in Australia.”