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Video gaming in Australia

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Video gaming in Australia

The video game industry in Australia is worth $1.1 billion annually as of 2014. There are 11.1 million gamers in Australia and 56% of them spend money on games. Australia is ranked 13th in the world in terms of gaming revenues.

History

Beam Software (also known as Melbourne House) was one of the first Australia based gaming companies to achieve global success, with a text adventure adaption of The Hobbit. Ozisoft, a major distributor of games, was established in 1982.

Team Bondi logo

Team Bondi, a Sydney-based independent third-party game developer founded in 2003,[1] was responsible for the Microsoft Windows, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 title L.A. Noire, published by multinational video game developer and publisher Rockstar Games (also popular for the Grand Theft Auto series). L.A. Noire was both a critical and commercial success, with over 5 million sales (making it the biggest Australian-made game yet). Despite this, Team Bondi was wound up on 5 October 2011.[2]

Censorship issues

An article from a 1993 issue of Hyper summarising all of the video game classifications and reporting on a government conference that took place concerning the classifications.

For many years (approximately 1993 to 2012), video games in Australia could not be rated R18+ (after a conference reported on in a 1993 issue of Hyper), and ratings only went up to MA15+ maximum. At the time, the R18+ classification rating could be given to film but a video game whose content would be deemed fitting for the R18+ rating would be 'Refused Classification' due to the R18+ classification not being available for the medium to use.[3]

In July and August 2012 this was changed when all Attorney-Generals agreed on creating the R18+ rating for video games, making it available by the end of 2012. This meant many games previously refused classification could get an R18+ classification if the publisher chose to pay a re-classification fee, get the game re-rated and sell the game within Australia.[4][5][6]

Despite this, games can still be refused classification if they depict, express or otherwise deal with matters of sex, drug misuse or addiction, crime, cruelty, violence or revolting or abhorrent phenomena in such a way that they offend against the standards of morality, decency and propriety generally accepted by reasonable adults to the extent that they should not be classified.

Material which is refused classification is put on the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service list of prohibited items. Any copies of these games found at the border will be seized, and its recipient, depending on the amount of copies being imported may receive up to AUD$110,000 in fines.[7]

An individual is allowed to own, use, access or create Refused Classification items, including games (with the exception of Western Australia). But a Refused Classification rating means that the created item is illegal to sell within Australia.

References

  1. ^ Tom Bramwell (19 July 2005). "Team Bondi's PS3 title named News - PlayStation 3 - Page 1". Eurogamer.net. Retrieved 24 May 2011. 
  2. ^ Nathan Brown. "Team Bondi to close - Edge Magazine". Next-gen.biz. Retrieved 25 June 2012. 
  3. ^ "Australia's ban of Saints Row 4 is emblematic of a conservative culture | Dan Golding | Comment is free". theguardian.com. 2007-09-28. Retrieved 2013-11-12. 
  4. ^ "Gamers fume as states delay lifting ban on R 18+ video games".  
  5. ^ "ACT moves on classifying R18+ video games".  
  6. ^ "Banned: the absurdity of Australia's game rating regime".  
  7. ^ Kozanecki, James (2011-03-15). "Aussie customs to seize Mortal Kombat imports". Gamespot. Retrieved 2011-03-15. 

External links

  • Australian Centre for the Moving Image - History of Game Development in Australia
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