Monday, June 29, 2009 Article: No classification: online games legal minefield article

I'm sorry but using the defence of : "believed that online games without a single player component did not require classification by the Classification Board." Just doesn't make sense. Wether you are playing a single or a mutli player game. You are still killing things, you are still doing quests, you are still looting etc. The only difference is the things you are killing are other players rather than computer generated.

Unclassified Games - Illegal to sell in Victoria

Source (section 34)

A person must not sell a computer game or demonstrate a computer game in a public place unless the computer game—
(a) is classified;

RC Classifications for Games

Games are made RC in accordance with the following: source

Computer games that:
(a) depict, express or otherwise deal with matters
of sex, drug misuse or addiction, crime,
cruelty, violence or revolting or abhorrent
phenomena in such a way that they offend
against the standards of morality, decency and
propriety generally accepted by reasonable
adults to the extent that they should not be
classified; or
(b) describe or depict in a way that is likely to
cause offence to a reasonable adult, a person
who is, or appears to be, a child under 18
(whether the person is engaged in sexual
activity or not); or
(c) promote, incite or instruct in matters of crime
or violence; or
(d) are unsuitable for a minor to see or play

Thoughts on Second Life and the proposed Filtering of RC games.

In Response to this:

What needs to be clarified is if something like Second Life is Refused Classification or Exempt from Classification. (or if its been looked at to be classified) I am unable to find this game on the Classifications Database. So it actually hasn't got a Classification and in that case based under the current classification laws it cannot be sold or hired in Australia. Since Second Life is free to play but you can upgrade your account for a fee to allow you to do more in the game, but the game itself is free.

"Computer games, whether they are locally made or come from overseas, have to be classified before they can be sold, hired, demonstrated or made available for play in Australia." source

I'm still not sure where this leaves Second Life.

There does not appear to be any Classification guidelines for Games where there is an online component and interactions with other players. So going by what Second Life is, walking around doing stuff? No violence? Is there anything sexual in the game, that the Devs put in? It'd fall under a rating less than M and could be Exempt from Classification. Also is Second Life classed as a game or a virtual experience?
Second Life has a business and Education part to it and so could be really be put under the Exempt from Classification based on the list here

Responce to post on EFA

Interesting. Checked the classification website and it has a rating of PG with an advisory message saying "Gaming experience may change online". World of Warcraft doesn't have a rating.

Doing a search on the net has brought up this:
"My original question (sent to the OFLC on August 22, 2005) was answered today when the OFLC's Ron Robinson called me to discuss this topic (I sent a followup email a couple days ago after the GTA stuff jogged my memory of this ancient request).

Ron let me know that World of Warcraft was not rated by the OFLC - in fact, was never even submitted for classification - it was a "waste of time" as the game is exclusively online, exclusively multiplayer, and has no defined start and end. Thus it is inherently unclassifiable. " -Source

Now if that is the case, that a solely Online game cannot get a classification how has Eve Online got one?

VANGUARD - SAGA OF HEROES (MMO game, has a rating of M and is available for purchase on shelves now)

I'm looking around the compliance information, but can't see how they come to not being able to classify MMOs

Just something slightly off topic as well "MA15+ is a legally restricted classification. Computer games classified MA15+ can only be sold or hired to people 15 years or older, unless they are accompanied by their parent or guardian,"
I find this very amusing because it is never adhered to in shops when someone buys a game. I recall when I was 13 or so I bought a game rated MA 15+, given I asked my parents permission first but they shop attendant didn't batter an eyelid with me buying it on my own.

Blocking websites where the game does not have a Classification would be covered under the Compliance for sale/hire stuff "Generally, all computer games displayed for sale/hire or being sold/hired must be classified." (source and source )

So based off what they currently have in place blocking sites that sell RC games is based from what they currently have in place, its just being pushed out to the Virtual World. What they'd need to do is have these games classified or a new classification put in place for online games or make them Exempt from Classification which would allow them to be sold.

And so if a game cann't be Classified and is sold in stores like World of Warcraft will there website get filtered out or because its available in a physical shop it will not be filtered out?

Eve-Online was only available to be purchased online for a long time and it now has a box you can buy from shops and if you look at the Classification date for it, it was done this year.