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