A public relations stunt to drum up publicity for Watch Dogs went awry, instead leading to a bomb squad showing up in an Australian news station earlier in the week, according to Kotaku. The PR stunt consisted of a package, which arrived at the offices of Ninemsn. It contained a letter and a small safe.
Hey, remember that scene in the movie "Dave" where Kevin Kline's character tries to balance the budget by getting rid of a bunch of redundant or useless government programs?
Australia seems to be trying something similar.
According to The ABC, on top of 40 government bodies already slated for closure, a further 36 will be abolished with many other organizations set to be merged in order to save nearly $500 million.
Gamasutra reports that the Australian government will shut down the Australian Interactive Games Fund on July 1st, backing away from a pledge to support Australia's game industry by investing $20 million in federal funds into the sector to fund local game development.
While Australia's government pushes for an automated solution to speed up the work of the Classification Board (the government ratings agency in charge of classifying ratings for games and other forms of entertainment) in the country, civil liberties groups and anti-pornography groups in the country are sounding alarm bells.
Researchers at the University of Adelaide (Australia) are shedding light on the unique problems of supposed "gaming addiction," saying that there is "strong evidence" to suggest that new treatments should be developed for these conditions. One of the biggest problems researchers face is that both Internet and gaming addictions are not recognized globally by mental health professionals as "real addictions." Gambling and sex addictions, for example, are recognized and treatable conditions.
Using worldwide scholastic results, researchers at Flinders University in South Australia have come to the conclusion that video games do not have a negative impact on the academic performance of adolescents.
Researchers analyzed data from than 192,000 students in 22 countries and found that academic performance and concentration among teenagers were not impacted by video game play.
The Australian government is tweaking its National Classification Scheme, by putting forth new legislation that makes the process of classifying content such as mobile and online games faster and more cost effective. For example, new proposals will make it so that films released in multiple formats (for example, 3D versions) won't have to go through the classification process twice. The legislation will also remove the need for reclassification when minor changes are made to video games such as software updates or bug fixes, or when new but minor content is added.
A Queensland, Australia man accused of allegedly infiltrating and comprising an unnamed video game company's computer network located in the United States has been charged after a joint investigation between local police and the FBI, according to the Brisbane Times.
Watch Dogs has been reclassified in Australia and will come with more content warnings when it is released this Spring, according to CVG. The open-world hacking-themed action game was originally classified by the Australian Classification Board in September last year with a rating of MA15+.
Microsoft's chief marketing and strategy officer Yusuf Mehdi announced that a limited edition Titanfall Xbox One bundle will be released on March 11 in the United States. The bundle offers the standard edition Xbox One console, Kinect peripheral, wireless controller and headset, a download code for Titanfall and a voucher for one month of Xbox Live Gold. The bundle is available to pre-order at participating retailers and will cost $499.99.
According to a report in the New York Times, the National Security Agency knew in 2013 that the Australian spy agency, the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD), was conducting surveillance on a U.S.-based law firm representing the Indonesian government in a trade dispute with the U.S. government. The dispute was over the United States banning the import of clove cigarettes into the U.S. from Indonesia.
On this week's show hosts Andrew Eisen and E. Zachary Knight talk about Sony's PlayStation Now streaming service, Sony Online Entertainment's all access MMO pass, Ultimate Gay Fighter, and South Australia's government being pressured into getting rid of anti-game billboards. Download Episode 83 now: SuperPAC Episode 83 (1 hour, 8 minutes) 78.5 MB.
The International Game Developers association passed a long a statement praising the South Australian government for its decision to take down billboard ads which compared gaming to gambling. On December 18 the international organization joined Australian video games trade group the Interactive Games and Entertainment Association (IGEA) in its vocal opposition to the ads, which both groups called anti-game propaganda.
Australians hoping that the new R18+ ratings system would finally allow them to play the same games the rest of the world is playing (save Germany, which has an even stricter system in place) will be sad to hear that the version of South Park: The Stick of Truth they'll get will be a modified experience.
While the news media in Australia is using headlines about how a man accused of murder was playing a violent video game prior to allegedly committing the crime, the unnamed game is never mentioned in court as some sort of catalyst or influence to the events that unfolded outside of an Ambarvale home in south-west Sydney on June 20, 2012. Nevertheless, that hasn't stopped Sky News from using the headline, "Stabbing 'followed violent video game.'"
A new report commissioned by the Australian video game industry trade group Interactive Games & Entertainment Association (IGEA) reveals that seven in 10 Australians play video games and 86 percent of parents who buy video games play those games with their children. The Digital Australia 2014 report also reveals that Australian households have at least one device for playing video games in the home.
Crowd funding service Kickstarter will soon be available in Australia and New Zealand, allowing projects of all shapes and sizes to pitch to the public at large. Kickstarter will officially launch in these new regions on November 13 and those interested in starting projects to be ready for the service's launch can get started now.
South Australia Attorney General John Rau recently told the Australian Broadcasting Network (ABC) that the country's new video game classification (R18+, which went into effect in January of this year) rules are not being applied properly to games and the ratings process needs further scrutiny from the country's policy makers.
EB Games Australia has apologized publicly for a Grand Theft Auto V publicity stunt at one of its stores. Apparently a Grand Theft Auto V display in one of its Queensland stores used sherbert as fake cocaine.
"Regrettably, one of our EB Games store locations in Queensland set-up an unauthorised display within the store in support of the launch of the Grand Theft Auto V video game," Debra McGrath, EB's national brand, events and marketing manager said.
During its Tokyo Game Show press conference today in Japan, Sony Computer Entertainment president Andrew House said that his company wants to sell five million PlayStation 4 consoles in the first four months of availability. Sony hopes to hit this goal before the end of its 2013 fiscal year, which closes at the end of March 2014.
"Our plan is to sell 5 million PS4s by the end of 2013," House said.
This week Nintendo of America announced that it plans on knocking $50 off the retail price of its Wii U console in September and that it would launch a special Wind Waker HD Limited Edition Wii U Bundle that includes the game, the Wii U console, a specially branded Zelda gamepad, and a digital copy of the Hyrule Historia book.
While America is getting all of this, apparently Australia is getting a big fat goose egg.
Australian nurse Katrina Fincham had struck it big by playing World of Warcraft. After earning around $75,000 by farming and selling gold in the popular MMORPG from Blizzard, she decided to convert that cold hard cash into cold hard gold bullion. After doing that she put it in her wall safe at her Adelaide home. All was right with the world, but then something horrible happened: her house was robbed and her wall safe was emptied!
Sony Australia is in a dispute with the Australian Taxation Office over $53 million AUD, which comes from five years of tax adjustments (back taxes owed and penalties) that the company believes are in error. A Sony Computer Entertainment Australia spokesperson confirmed the news with GameSpot, but added that its PlayStation business in Australia has not been affected by it. Sony is appealing the assessment.
The Interactive Games and Entertainment Association (IGEA), the trade group representing the interactive entertainment industry in Australia, thinks that the rating system there is a mess and that the board that oversees it is more a hindrance than a help.
IGEA CEO Ron Curry says that the whole system needs to be overhauled because the classification system is dysfunctional and administered by a handful of government bureaucrats. He thinks that the system needs a serious revamp and that it needs to be administered by members of the industry instead.
After being refused classification and losing an appeal on the first submission, Saint's Row IV has finally managed to secure a rating in Australia by the Australian Classification Board. After a modified version of the game was resubmitted, the Australian Classification Board classified the game as MA15+. At issue was a mission that contained the use of "alien narcotics" which improved the super powers of players for a limited time within the game. Publisher Deep Silver and developer Volition decided to remove the mission from the game.
Take Two Interactive's and Rockstar Games' Grand Theft Auto V passed through the Australian Classification Board review process and survived, earning an R18+ rating for the region. Many were concerned that the game might end up getting refused classification on its first pass through the process much like Saint's Row IV and State of Decay did earlier this year. Saint's Row IV still remains effectively banned in the region, even after the game went through a second review earlier this week.