Australia is well known to have some very strict policies when it comes to videogames, restricting the sales of games that the Classification Board deem too inappropriate. When this happens, the game in question is refused classification, effectively making the game illegal to be sold or advertised in Australia. The Classification Board that had been responsible for this in recent years had only refused classification to approximately 50 video games between 1994 – 2014.
The huge increase in unclassified games comes from the Australian Government’s decision to adopt a new model for classifying games called the IARC, the International Age Rating Coalition. The model is used by the UK, USA, Brazil, Canada and the majority of Europe.
The exact rise in unclassified games comes from the Classification Board previously being unrequired to review games released on online storefronts, however the join with the IARC means that every online game is required to be reviewed by the board and either classified or banned.
The full list of these games so far has revealed that since the IARC, the majority of banned games have been mobile games with titles such as Islam Today, Stickman Crime in Kitchen, Hit My Ass and Wrecking Miley. Australia’s reputation for classifying games include the removal of scenes from Saints Row 3 and the banning of Hotline Miami 2 and Mortal Kombat 9.
The IARC tool is a recent adoption and could be permanent or temporary depending on the decision of the Federal Government to keep using the model of classification or reverting back to their previous method.