Yesterday we all pointed and laughed as Australia’s Nanny State governmental ratings board allowed another game to be refused classification – effectively banning it from sale. Adult gamers are not allowed to make their own decisions on what videogame content they view and as such they will not be playing Syndicate next year.
What has been known to happen in the past is for developers to tone down their games and appeal the rating refusal in Australia. This, normally, ensures a release of their game. This happened with Fallout 3, although the flip side is that the whole world ended up with the toned down copy, not just Australia.
Electronic Arts is refusing to budge, however. They’re saying that they will not appeal out of principle and that Syndicate will not get an Australian release at all.
Speaking to Joystiq, an EA rep said the following:
“The game will not be available in Australia despite its enthusiastic response from fans. We were encouraged by the government’s recent agreement to adopt an 18+ age rating for games. However, delays continue to force an arcane censorship on games – cuts that would never be imposed on books or movies. We urge policy makers to take swift action to implement an updated policy that reflects today’s market and gives its millions of adult consumers the right to make their own content choices.”
I think more developers and publishers need to adopt this strategy. It’s time for the Australian government to wake up and realise that the rest of the world is laughing at them.