You may recall that way back in June that Saints Row IV was officially the first game to be refused classification under the new ratings system in Australia. The Classification Board rejected the game (effectively issuing a ban on the sale of it in the region) because it contained content that the board felt was above and beyond the highest rating a game can get in the country - R18+.
Undead Labs' zombie-survival action game State of Decay is no longer banned in Australia. The game has been granted an R18+ adult rating by the Classification Board, paving the way for it to be sold in Australia. Undead Labs resubmitted a modified version of the game that removed and replaced the contents that the Board found to be beyond the pale - interactive drug use that directly benefited gameplay.
The results of research conducted by Morgan Tear and Mark Nielsen from the University of Queensland (Australia) concludes that playing violent video games does not diminish prosocial behavior (in other words, it doesn't make participants anti-social as some research has claimed). The results of the research was recently published in the journal PLOS ONE.
GameSpot Australia is reporting that Undead Labs has resubmitted its zombie themed action game State of Decay to the Australian Classification Board.
Undead Labs' State of Decay is the second game to be refused classification in Australia under the country's new ratings system. The game was refused classification because it includes interactive drug use that "aids in gameplay progression," or rewards the player for engaging in drug use.
Writing on the Undead Labs forum, executive producer Jeff Strain shared the bad news with fans.
Yesterday we reported that Saints Row IV had earned the dubious distinction of being the very first game to be refused classification under Australia's new age rating system for games. Now GameSpot has figured out exactly what got the game banned. Two things managed to get the game bumped from an expected R18+ rating to basically being banned in Australia.
Saints Row IV earns the dubious distinction of being the very first game to be refused classification under Australia's new age rating system for games. The ratings board announced that Saints Row IV "includes interactive, visual depictions of implied sexual violence which are not justified by context. In addition, the game includes elements of illicit or proscribed drug use related to incentives or rewards. Such depictions are prohibited by the computer games guidelines."
Monash University researcher Dr. Andy Ruddock from the School of English, Communications and Performance Studies and Brendan Keogh from the School of Media and Communication at RMIT (both in Australia, in case you didn't know) will host a seminar to discuss how better collaboration between media effects researchers and games studies researchers can find common ground and work together to improve understanding on the effects of violent video games on real world behavior.
The Australian Classification Board has held back the release of Undead Labs' open-world zombie survival title State of Decay for Xbox 360 in the region, according to the developer's official Facebook page.
Gamers in Australia have managed to raise $550,000 for the Starlight Children's Foundation as part of Starlight Week 2013, which took place in 400 EB Games (owned by GameStop) stores in the country April 29 - May 5. The week-long event offered in-store competitions, promotions, and donation drives.
Starlight CEO Louise Baxter expressed his gratefulness to EB and gamers in the country for their hard work and generosity:
A new television ad for Dead Island: Riptide has been banned by Australia's Advertising Standards Board, despite appeals by its local distributor AIE that the content it was banned for was "contextually relevant" to the game. The content that got the ad yanked for broadcast was a couple committing suicide to avoid getting ripped apart by a pack of zombies.
Update: This Kotaku story citing an unnamed Microsoft rep. notes that the Kinect does not have to be on all the time:
"Yes, you can turn the system completely off," the Microsoft rep said. "This would use no power and turn everything off. We’ll share more details about how it all works later." Article author Stephen Totilo speculates that this involves pressing the console's power button.
Australia's Bureau of Statistics has released an interesting game for iOS devices that uses real census data (circa 2011) from the country's various towns called Run That Town. Players build a town using real census data (which can include the real town they live in… in Australia) and run it.
Staff at L.A. Noire developer Team Bondi have been laid off after the company's in-development title Whore of the Orient was unable to find a publisher, according to a report on MCV Pacific. According to Superannuation Warner Bros. backed away from a potential publishing deal "right before last Christmas," the publisher never officially or publicly confirmed that it had anything to do with the project.
Sega has confirmed with Kotaku that it plans to close its Brisbane-based development studio later this year. Sega said that it would close Sega Studios Australia later this year, but gave no particular reason for shutting down the operation.
The publisher says it will shut down Sega Studios Australia later this year; no rationale provided.
Media Molecule co-founder and studio director Siobhan Reddy has been named Australian Woman of the Year in the U.K. for 2013. The award is sponsored by Qantas Airways and the networking organization Australian Business.
Reddy was born in Sydney but migrated to the United Kingdom in the 1990s. She is in charge of the Guildford, U.K.-based studio that developed the LittleBigPlanet series and is hard at work on its latest IP called Tearaway. She was honored with the award last night in London.
While most big game developers and publishers have abandoned a lot of the studios they used to run in Australia, one company has decided that it is a good place to open up a new office. Riot Games, makers of the popular online multiplayer battle arena game League of Legends, announced that it has opened up a brand new studio in Sydney Australia.
Kotaku is reporting that Queensland has finally joined other states in Australia in officially approving an R18+ ratings classification for videogames after a false start earlier in the day when a press release was accidently released announcing that the R18+ rating had been approved by the government. All that needs to be done is for the governor of Queensland to sign it for the new ratings to be in force - expect that to take at least another couple of weeks.
GameSpot is reporting that NetherRealm Studios' Mortal Kombat has finally received a ratings classification in Australia. Two years ago the game was refused classification in the region twice due to its graphic and bloody contents, but thanks to the new R18+ adult rating classification in the region games like Mortal Kombat won't be (hopefully) banned for sale going forward.
Australia's second game to receive an R18+ games ratings classification is Ubisoft's Spartacus Legends, according to Player Attack. Spartacus Legends is a free-to-play action game to be released on Xbox Live and PlayStation Network. It's based on the gritty and gory Starz original gladiator drama Spartacus.
The very first game to be classified under the new Australian video games ratings classification of R18+ is Team Ninja's Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor's Edge for Wii U. Prior to the new rating - which went into effect officially on January 1, 2013 - games with the kind of content that Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor's Edge contains would be refused classification and would effectively be prohibited from being sold in the country.
Melbourne Australia-based indie game developer Endgame Studios is tired of the high prices that gamers in the region have to pay for video games (compared to Europe and other regions) and has decided to voice their opinion about how much they think it sucks. In a post entitled "A stand against exorbitant Aussie game prices!," the studio says that Australian gamers are asked to pay 50 - 100 percent more than American consumers due to - according to publishers and distributors - currency exchange rates.
As we reported earlier today, Australia now has an R18+ rating for its video games.
But will the extra rating change anything? The government still has the ability to refuse classification. Will particularly violent titles be released under the new adult rating or will they just get banned anyway?
On January 1, the Australian R18+ classification for video games went into effect. Prior to that, Australia remained one of the few developed countries not to have a classification equivalent to a "mature" game rating. In the past, games that had content that was considered too mature for the country's MA15+ category would often be refused classification - effectively games at this level were banned for sale in the region.