I figured this didn't quite warrant an article even though its newsworthy material (since its not hugely relevant to most people), instead I thought I'd post here so that we can more easily discuss it (I also wasn't quite sure which forum to post this in, so I may have mucked up)
Basically as you may have heard, and as I've posted in one of my Gaming Articles "Saints Row IV" was denied classification in Australia a while ago, it was then modified and resubmitted for approval but earlier this week it was once again refused classification and has been modified and resubmitted again.
So to give you guys a bit of background since I doubt many of you are familiar with the Australian Ratings system for games (and I'm probably a bit more familiar with it than most Australians). Unlike the US Australia has a uniform ratings system across all forms of entertainment. This means that for example its easier for parents who aren't familiar with games to understand the kind of content on it (which I've heard can be a problem in the US) and should mean that games and movies and whatever else get treated equally. The main ratings we have are:
[*]G-General Audiences-Essential its Suitable for all audiences.
[*]PG-Parental Guidance-Suitable for all audiences but parental guidance is recommended for young people.
[*]M-Mature-Recommended for Mature Audiences (15+)
[*]MA-Mature Audiences Only-Basically just a slight step up form M, in that people under the age of 15 can not purchase MA material at all.
[*]R-Restricted- Baisically its just 18+
[*]X-pornography (obviously not really involved in the video game industry)
Anything that doesn't get classified into one of these is Refused Classification, in other words it can not be sold at all.
Up until recently (so recently that Saints Row IV and State of Decay are really the first issues we're seeing) there was no R rating, but people fought to have one introduced basically since Mortal Kombat and Left 4 Dead 2 were refused classification. The problem is in a similar way I think to the way that everyone had a huge problem with internet censorship only to have some of those policies introduced without any attention once things had died down a bit everyone was really excited about the introduction of an R rating in video games but because the legal process took so long nobody was really paying attention to it when more details on what the guidelines for the R rating actually were. Essentially the way politicians (who are obviously completely out of touch with reality) took it to mean were not that we wanted games that at the time would be refused classification to be given an R rating instead (and thus kept away from children) but instead that we wanted tougher restrictions so that some games that would be classified MA would be classified R instead.
Even if this next version of Saints Row IV gets accepted it will be damaging for the sales of the game since many gamers will want the full game which means either importing the game (which is both difficult and expensive) or more likely pirating the game. It will also likely mean that the game will be delayed quite a bit as its less than 23 days until its meant to come out.
Anyway, this is something that really pisses me off, I hate how politicians and bureaucrats don't seem to be able to comprehend what the rest of the country wants. If any of you have any questions about this I'll do my best to answer, otherwise just discuss what you think about this.