Australia has banned 220 video games while it waits for the International Age Ratings Coalition to come into effect.
Australia’s law dictates that games that have been refused classification by its ratings system necessarily be banned. This means these games—many of which are old or obscure titles, though not all—will be illegal to sell, advertise, or publicly distribute. The quantity of games, 220, is more than the entire amount of games banned from 1994 to 2014.
The reasoning behind the move is that Australia is adopting the International Age Ratings Coalition (IARC)’s new ratings system. The new system dictates that games released through digital storefronts must be rated. This has been a blind spot for a good while now, frustrating parents (and other curious folks). The system relies on game developers to provide their own ratings information for their games, but older games would inevitably have to be individually rated by the Australian Classification Board.
While many of these recently banned games weren’t necessarily ever popular, the digitization of gaming has made them suddenly available via the Internet. “It is not realistic or practicable for the Classification Board to manually classify each of them,” said a spokesperson from the Attorney-General’s Department. Basically, there just isn’t time to focus on elderly titles such as Drunk Driver, Douchebag Beach Club, or HoboSimulator. Perhaps of more concern to Australian gamers is the banning of more well-known titles like Hotline Miami 2.
The IARC’s global pilot program initiates today, July 1. Other participating regions are the UK, the USA, Canada, Brazil, and most of Europe. Check out their promotional video for more: