Australian government bans over 200 mobile games

June 30, 2015 - Andrew Eisen

Ugh.

It is so hard for me to refrain from editorializing when I write these types of stories but... I'll do my best.

The Australian Classification Board has the ability to refuse classification to any game it feels falls outside the scope of its highest rating.  This effectively bans these titles because it's illegal to sell games in Australia that aren't rated.

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Australia passes new anti-copyright infringement law

June 22, 2015 - GamePolitics Staff

Australia has passed a controversial new anti-piracy law, according to this Ars Technica report. Why is it controversial?  Because it makes it easier for rights holders to censor websites. The bill, which passed both houses, allows a rights holder to go to a federal judge to get a site - even an international site - blocked if they believe its primary purpose is in enabling copyright infringement.

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Report: Australians could face an additional tax on digital goods

May 7, 2015 - GamePolitics Staff

Australian consumers might find themselves being forced to pay more for digital goods purchased overseas if the government has its way. According to PlayerAttack, goods purchased overseas and intangible services could be subject to a ten percent goods and services tax (GST). Those services could includes games from Steam, streaming services such as Netflix, eBooks, and even music and movies. iTunes already pays GST on Australian sales so its pricing will not change in the region.

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EA submits to the authority of the Australian Consumer Law

April 28, 2015 - GamePolitics Staff

Kotaku Australia reports that Electronic Arts has come to an agreement with the ACCC, the national consumer regulator for Australia, concerning giving refunds. EA said that it would not give refunds to customers of SimCity and other games bought through its Origin service way back in 2013. The Australian government disagreed and warned the publisher that it was violating the Australian Consumer Law.

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South Australian government competition lets students design national park upgrades in 'Minecraft'

April 22, 2015 - GamePolitics Staff

The South Australian State Government has launched a special program that lets students help create national park upgrades by designing and creating elements in Minecraft, according to The Lead - South Australia.

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Australian Government sets the record straight on 'Minecraft' geosciences

April 21, 2015 - GamePolitics Staff

This mildly amusing report from the Australian Government explains the different "blocks and rocks" in Minecraft and dispels the myths about what happens to them in the game (as opposed to what would "really happen"). We are sure this short report is for the benefit of youngsters who play the game and might be getting some less-than-accurate "geosciences" from it.

Here are some myth busting highlights from the report:

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Netflix apologizes to shareholders for Australian data cap deal

April 16, 2015 - GamePolitics Staff

Netflix made a deal in Australia earlier this year that it wishes it could hit the rewind button on and this week the entertainment streaming company admitted it was wrong to do so. It had good intentions, but as the old saying goes, "the road to Hell is paved with good intentions" - and it's desperately looking for an off-ramp.

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2K Australia closed, entire staff laid off

April 16, 2015 - GamePolitics Staff

2K Australia, one of the last major AAA game development studios in the country, is shutting down, Kotaku Australia reports. According to that report all employees are being laid off and the studio is being shut down. The studio was located in Canberra.

Costs were the reason the studio was shuttered according to sources speaking to Kotaku Australia, who also said that a move to Melbourne was considered at one point.

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Victoria government announces funding for four game projects

April 13, 2015 - GamePolitics Staff

Last week the Victorian Government (Australia) announced that it would put $340,000AU towards funding game developers as part of the Film Victoria’s Assigned Production Investment – Games program. The funding was announced by Victorian Minister for Creative Industries, Martin Foley, on Friday, according to MCV.

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Australian Classification Board Turns To IARC To Streamline Ratings Process

March 11, 2015 - GamePolitics Staff

The Australian Government announced this week that it would trial for one year a new system to speed up ratings for entertainment products. The Australian Classification Board will work in conjunction with International Age Ratings Coalition to use its ratings to streamline the process. A trial period will begin next month, and will be overseen by the Classification Board. The announcement was made by Michael Keenan, the Minister for Justice.

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Is Netflix Being Hypocritical About Net Neutrality in Australia?

March 4, 2015 - James Fudge

In the United States one of the strongest corporate proponents of the Federal Communications Commission's net neutrality rules is video content streaming company Netflix, but a new deal in Australia is raising the eyebrows of some rights groups who say the deal is hypocritical.

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Australia Considering 'Three-Strikes' Copyright Enforcement System

February 20, 2015 - GamePolitics Staff

According to this TorrentFreak report, Australian Internet service providers have caved in to pressure from the Australian government to create a system to deal with copyright infringers and file-sharers. A group of Australian ISPs this week published proposals (a 34-page document called the "Copyright Notice Scheme Industry Code") to deal with the issue of online piracy - drafted with the help of entertainment companies, apparently.

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'Mortal Kombat X' Rated R18+ in Australia

February 3, 2015 - GamePolitics Staff

The Australian Classification Board has rated Mortal Kombat X the highest rating it can give under its present system: R18+. The game, set for launch in late April worldwide, was given the rating due to "high impact violence, blood and gore, online interactivity."

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'Hotline Miami 2' Designer To Australian Gamer: 'Just Pirate It'

January 16, 2015 - GamePolitics Staff

If you are worried that you won't be able to play Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number in Australia due to it being refused classification in the country by the Australian Classification Board, then perhaps Hotline Miami 2 designer Jonatan Söderström (from Dennaton Games) has an answer you might like: just pirate it. At least that is what he told one fan who emailed him and offered to send him money directly to get his hands on the game when it is released later this year.

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'Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number' Refused Classification in Australia

January 15, 2015 - GamePolitics Staff

Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number has been refused classification in Australia, according to this Kotaku Australia report. A report by the Australian Classification Board explains why the game was refused classification, or given an "RC," effectively banning it from being sold in Australia. The scene in question involves implied sexual violence:

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Take-Two President: If you don't like 'GTA V,' don't buy it

December 9, 2014 - GamePolitics Staff

Speaking at the BMO Capital Markets 2014 Technology & Digital Media Conference (as chronicled by GII) today, Take-Two president Karl Slatoff said that those pushing to get Grand Theft Auto V banned in Australia should simply not buy the game if they don't like it, not get it banned from store shelves.

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Kmart Australia Joins Target Australia in Pulling 'GTA V' From Stores Shelves

December 4, 2014 - GamePolitics Staff

Kmart Australia has joined Target Australia in pulling Grand Theft Auto V from stores shelves in the country. This is not surprising considering that Wesfarmers owns both Kmart Australia and Target Australia. Still, this news is likely disheartening to Take Two, who issued a statement expressing its disappointment in Target yesterday.

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Take-Two CEO Expresses Disappointment in Target Australia's Decision to Remove 'GTA V' From Stores

December 3, 2014 - GamePolitics Staff

Take-Two Interactive CEO Strauss Zelnick has expressed deep disappointment in Target Australia's decision to pull Grad Theft Auto V from its store shelves after an online petition specifically targeted the retailer over stocking the game. That petition on Change.org called for the retailer to pull the game over first-person interactions with sex workers (mostly viewed from YouTube videos showing sex with a prostitute followed by a murder in first-person view).

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Target Australia Pulls 'Grand Theft Auto V' From Store Shelves

December 3, 2014 - GamePolitics Staff

It looks like a Change.org petition has garnered enough attention to get Grand Theft Auto V  pulled off store shelves at one major retailer in Australia, according to a GamesBeat report.

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Netflix Coming to Australia and New Zealand in Q1 2015

November 19, 2014 - GamePolitics Staff

The BBC reports that Netflix will expand its reach to Australia and New Zealand in March of 2015. The company said that it will expand to these new regions in the first quarter of next year and will have two new original series - Marco Polo and BoJack Horseman - ready to watch when the service goes live there. Pricing and programming available for Australia and New Zealand will be announced at a later date.

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Study: Active Games No Better Than Traditional Games For Children

October 16, 2014 - GamePolitics Staff

New research coming out of Australia suggest that playing active video games or banning traditional games outright does not help children who live sedentary lifestyles. Traditional and active play games make little difference to how physically active children are throughout the day, says Professor Leon Straker from Curtin University's School of Physiotherapy and Exercise Science.

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Melbourne Murder Trial Testimony Focuses on 'Call of Duty Training'

October 14, 2014 - GamePolitics Staff

Testimony in the trial of a 19-year-old from Melbourne, Australia man who stabbed a homeless person to death in January after an altercation, seems to be trying to create the defense that Call of Duty had a strong influence on the defendant's state of mind. Easton George Woodhead is facing a murder charge for repeatedly stabbing Morgan Wayne "Mousey" Perry at an encampment of homeless people living on the banks of Melbourne's Yarra River.

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'Stop The Spies' Hopes to Kill Australia's 'Mandatory Data Retention' Bill

October 7, 2014 - GamePolitics Staff

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is shining a spotlight this week on a new Australian bill that would make it so that Internet service providers in the country would have to collect and store personal user data and give law enforcement agencies access to it for up to two years. The unnamed bill, currently being referred to as the "mandatory data retention bill," will be introduced to the Australian federal parliament during the week of October 27.

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Xbox 360 Gets Price Cut in Australia

September 29, 2014 - GamePolitics Staff

Microsoft Australia has announced that it will slash the prices of several Xbox 360 models beginning on October 1. The 250GB model and the 250GB Kinect console bundle, will both see a price cut of around $100.

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Uncensored Version of 'Left 4 Dead 2' Now Available in Australia

September 15, 2014 - GamePolitics Staff

The uncensored PC version of Left 4 Dead 2 is finally available to consumers in Australia via Steam today (thanks Blue's News). The uncensored version of Valve's co-op zombie survival shooter sequel now carries an R18+ rating and is for sale - for a limited time - for 75 percent off its normal asking price.

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Sunshine Coast Researcher Seeks Data On Games That Empower Girls

September 11, 2014 - GamePolitics Staff

A researcher from the University of the Sunshine Coast (Queensland, Australia) is investigating the theory that video games can empower girls by promoting positive female identities and deliver affirmative outcomes in the lives of teenage girls.

International PhD student Katryna Starks from Los Angeles said her thesis "Game Chang(h)er: Exploring the video game design elements that may impact the agency and identity of adolescent girls," focuses on female gamers, a demographic that is not fully catered to in game design.

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'Left 4 Dead 2' Finally Gets R18+ Rating in Australia

September 2, 2014 - GamePolitics Staff

The PC version of first-person cooperative zombie survival game Left 4 Dead 2 has finally been reclassified in Australia with an R18+ rating (thanks Cheater87). The game, now has warnings for "high impact violence," "strong impact themes," and "mild impact language."

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Australian Consumer Watch Dog Group Sues Valve Over Steam Refund Policy

August 29, 2014 - GamePolitics Staff

GamesBeat reports that the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has taken Valve Software to court over its "no refunds" policy on Steam.

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Australian Government Quietly Discussing New Ways to Combat Piracy

July 25, 2014 - GamePolitics Staff

A leaked document from the Australian government reveals discussion points on implementing a potential online piracy crackdown. Among them, changing the law to bypass a 2012 court ruling by an Australian court that protected ISP iiNet from suffering for the infringements of its users, and new legislation to allow for ISP-level blocking of alleged 'pirate' sites.

Much of this is coming from Attorney-General George Brandis, but he faces the usual accusations about a lack of transparency during the preliminary phase of discussions by digital rights groups.

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Report: Western Australian Amendment Meddles With R18+ Rating

July 7, 2014 - GamePolitics Staff

On January 1, Australia finally and officially implemented an R18+ classification for games - something the government took a very long time to put in place. The goal of the rating was to allow games rated "Mature" elsewhere in the world to have a similar rating in Australia.

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Which group is more ethically challenged?:

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Andrew EisenThat was quick! Pretty accurate cosplay of the new Ghostbuster uniform and proton pack: https://twitter.com/mirabellemusing/status/61673135125394227207/03/2015 - 6:23pm
Matthew Wilson@mast I dont know, but I do know it got a cult fallowing here.07/03/2015 - 6:22pm
MastermuneWasn't the Zero Escape series more popular here than in Japan?07/03/2015 - 6:19pm
Matthew Wilson@mast given the game was revealed in the US, I wouldnt be shocked if it was released at the same time.07/03/2015 - 6:15pm
MastermuneI don't trust the big AAA worldwide simultaneous releases though.07/03/2015 - 5:57pm
Mastermune@Infophile I have come to the conclusion that smaller games like zero escape, JRPG's and the like are actually worth preordering sinc they are limited quantities and since they usually release in japan first we know if there are any issues.07/03/2015 - 5:56pm
Infophile@Matthew! Awesome news. I'd preorder on that shout alone if I didn't have a policy against preordering anymore.07/03/2015 - 5:16pm
Matthew Wilsonzero escape 3 was announced today.07/03/2015 - 4:21pm
Matthew Wilson@pnx I am guessing a ddoss since that is what happened to neogaf, but sony needs to do a investment in psn as a whole. steam is still the most reliable and fastest digital platform I use.07/03/2015 - 3:06pm
PHX Corphttp://www.vg247.com/2015/07/03/psn-is-down-sony-investigating/ not again: PSN is down, Sony investigating07/03/2015 - 3:04pm
Matthew Wilsonhttp://www.vg247.com/2015/07/03/digital-extremes-trespasser-keystone-pc/ if true, this is funny and embarrassing for Digital Extremes. companies need too have better security.07/03/2015 - 2:57pm
Matthew Wilsonhttp://www.gamespot.com/videos/the-point-destiny-the-hardcore-gamers-slot-machine/2300-6425852/ this is very good, and well researched.07/03/2015 - 12:41pm
InfophileOther features to become standard: The ability to remap controls however the hell I want. Quicksave at any time (especially for handheld and mobile games). Plus everything Andrew said07/03/2015 - 10:43am
InfophileRegion-freeing becomes tricky for games with a strong online component though, especially when the servers are run by different branches in different regions.07/03/2015 - 10:41am
InfophileI'm in favor of getting rid of region-locking for any purchased games. I can understand an exception for free, ad-supported games, as many ads are only relevant in certain regions, and it's a ridiculous hassle to get ads for all regions.07/03/2015 - 10:40am
PHX Corphttp://kotaku.com/payday-2-has-been-broken-on-xbox-one-for-three-weeks-1715384186 Payday 2 Has Been Broken On Xbox One For Three Weeks07/03/2015 - 8:44am
Matthew Wilsonhttps://www.reddit.com/r/OutOfTheLoop/comments/3bxduw/why_was_riama_along_with_a_number_of_other_large/ here is a more complete acount of whats going on.07/03/2015 - 1:32am
Matthew Wilsonredit is on fire right now. most subreddits have been set to private.07/03/2015 - 1:24am
MattsworknameYou know andrew, those are actualy rock solid ideas, I woudl like those features a bunch ,especially with games that a cut scene heavly. looking at you kojima!07/03/2015 - 1:18am
Andrew EisenActually, "things I'd like to see become standard in video games" ain't a bad idea for one of my future YouTube videos.07/03/2015 - 1:05am
 

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