A long overdue amendment to the Australian Games Classification Act passed in the Senate yesterday, which will allow games to be classified using Classification Tools, majorly streamlining the classification process.
The amendment, titled the “Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Amendment (Classification Tools and Other Measures) Bill 2014”, aims to circumvent the costly and unnecessarily complicated processes games need to be put through before being released into the Australian market.
Currently, all games must be submitted to the Australian Classification Board where a group of people determine the age rating for every game that is released on Australian shores. It’s a timely process and many games are slipping through the cracks.
“It has been almost 20 years since major classification reform was undertaken,” reads the bill’s explanatory memo. “During this time the technology for delivering content, and the sheer amount of content available, has changed dramatically.”
The reform will now allow for Classification Tools to be used for the classification of digital content. Reports Kotaku, this means that rather than having to go through the board, video games will be able to receive classification through some sort of form or online questionnaire, vastly speeding up the process.
Another part of the change recognises that if a game introduces additional content, such as new maps or additional characters, it may not have to be re-classified if that content doesn’t change the classification of the original game.
The bill notes that these reforms are the first of many to come. Those interested can read the amendment here.