Sales fall, piracy rises in wake of censored games

Atkinson gets threat letter from gamer

These five games were refused classification by Australia’s classification board, the OFLC. Thanks to the lack of a mature R18+ rating in Australia, these games were either modified to a watered-down content level or pulled from sale altogether.

These five games were refused classification by Australia’s classification board, the OFLC. Thanks to the lack of a mature R18+ rating in Australia, these games were either modified to a watered-down content level or pulled from sale altogether.

The lack of an R18+ classification for electronic games has been linked to an increase in piracy and poor sales of titles that were toned-down to meet Australia’s top M15+ rating.

Efforts to push for a R18+ rating have increased in recent weeks after the Federal Government called for public comment on the topic of introducing a higher classification rating.

Previous considerations of the rating – which would bring Australia in line with classification law in most countries – were rejected by South Australian attorney-general Michael Atkinson.

All state attorney-generals must support the changes for the rating to come into effect.

Interactive Games and Entertainment Association (iGEA) CEO Ron Curry said while Atkinson had agreed to post-election talks, Australian retailers were losing money to piracy and overseas imports.

“Sales are significantly less for modified games,” Curry said. “People will import the full unmodified game over the Internet or get a pirate version.

“[Atkinson] has told me he will discuss the issue with me after the election,” he added.

However, Curry conceded Atkinson would be a “roadblock” to the classification law if he did not change his vehement opposition to the R18+ proposal. The iGEA yesterday submitted its response to the call for public comment by the communication watchdog.

The Australian video games market peaked at $1.96 billion in 2008, according to iGEA statistics, with software sales rising by 57 per cent, consoles by 43 per cent and other hardware by 68 per cent.

Local Sega game developer Dan Toose said the classification laws did not have a big impact on Australian game development, but said it could cost developer studios millions to redesign titles to be passed under the M15+ rating.

"What really takes the time is quality assurance testing, which can take more than two weeks... it can cost modern game development studios half a million dollars a month to [modify] games," Toose said. "It is bad to put that on the shoulders of developers."

Toose said the opposition to the law "makes no sense whatever" because the R18+ classification was recognised as distinctly adult content. He said the new rating would stop children being exposed to more graphic content that is squeezed into the M15+ rating under the current scheme.

A threatening note was allegedly slipped under the door of Atkinson’s South Australian home in the early hours of this morning, attacking the SA attorney-general for his opposition to the R18+ rating.

He told ABC TV's Good Game program that “my family is at more risk from gamers than from outlaw motorcycle gangs, who also hate me and are running a candidate against me [in the next state elections]”.

He said his electoral office was regularly “spammed” but did not say whether this was the handiwork of angry gamers.

iGEA's Curry said such personal attacks on the SA attorney-general were “disgusting” and damaging to the case for an R18+ classification.

“It is absolutely pointless and counter-productive to the cause… it perpetuates the gamer stereotype which the industry has spent time trying to dispel. It is the one per cent of idiots that wreck it for the rest,” Curry said.

Up to 68 per cent of Australians play electronic games, according to the iGEA.

Three years ago women gamers accounted for 5 per cent of all gamers. They now accounted for 41 per cent, according to the iGEA.

Tags abciGEAMichael AtkinsonR18 gamesgamesclassification

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Atkinson sounds like he might be having a gander at being a bit of a goose.

Hmmm, wonder if he would say that thought should be R rated?



Sounds like South Australia is becoming the laughing stock of this nation with this being another nail in its coffin. No wonder people are leaving the state.



"It is the one per cent of idiots that wreck it for the rest" - well, at least there is some symmetry here - the exact same statement applies to Atkinson.



Atkinson and Conroy are two of the biggest embarrassments to Australia. Both obviously single minded and not over intelligent.
As with many people, I purchase games though online methods through countries that believe that Adults are intelligent enough to choose what they want.
I simply log in through my VPN to American or european sites and buy and download unrestricted games.
Conroy wants to ban freedom of speech, and access to information and Atkinson wants to control what we can and can't play and use.
No wonder Australia is seen as a joke to the rest of the world.
I only hope these twits are gone next election!



Atkinson needs to be rated "D" Dumb! Gamers will just download the uncut version for a torrent site. At least with a "R +18"rating there would be some filtering / control? Instead there is none and the games still make it very easily to thousands of aussie PCs. Maybe this is by design? Atkinson and others can say "it wasn't me" and I done the best to stop it? So now it not IINet that is promoting copy right infringements, it is the Australian attorney-general. What a mad world we live in?



All good and well for PC Gamers to download torrents illegally or purchase from international distributors. But what about console gamers, if we modify our consoles to play burnt games we can face removal from online services. Importing games from international sellers can be a headache with region coding.

It is not good enough just to say "oh well, we'll download it elsewhere". As tax paying adults we should have a right to play whatever games are available and as they were originally intended by the developer. It is NOT a kids toy!



iGEA's Curry said such personal attacks on the SA attorney-general were “disgusting”

It isnt the best way to go, but what do you expect when you be so self centered and arregent, he ignors 90% of the population and wonder why people hate him, the guys an idiot!

Daisy Walton


of course Michael Atkinson is out of touch with the modern Australian adult gamer, he plays the Nintendo Wii. an episode of Good Game showed him playing tennis on Wii Sports. lol



I for one suspect the note under the door story to be either complete bulldust, political justification stunt, or someone he knows and more than likely hates him as well having their own joke on him.
If you set yourself up as a fool, dont be suprised when people start throwing cabbages at you.
For some reason when I read the story it reminded me of that pathetic, but as it turned out very effective stunt my John Howard when he address farmers about gun control, wearing a bulletproof vest.
Us cynical types all went, "Oh what the heck, your joking right" and then were mortified when large sections of the population bought the act.
Well same applies with this story.



@David, you're right about how the note might have come from inside the door, but thankfully it's irrelevant now that the more intelligent John Rau will be the A-G.

So now we only have one (federal) beepwit among those "responsible" for deciding comms policy in Australia.

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