Australia Has Already Refused Almost 250 Games Classification This Year

When the shooter Hotline Miami 2 was refused classification in January of this year due to a particular scene involving sexual violence, it joined a short list of games that have flat-out never been released in Australia.

Games like Postal and Manhunt have previously been banned due to “abhorrent content” and extreme violence, while other controversial titles like The Witcher 2 have been released in edited versions, with offending content removed or censored. 
All that has changed in recent months, though. In fact, the Twitter account Refused Classification, which monitors censorship in Australian media, notes that, since March of this year, 241 games have been banned here.
That’s more than three times the number of games refused classification in the entire decade leading up to 2015.

Why the big change?

It’s not that games have suddenly gotten seedier since March – rather, it’s the fact that the Australian Classification Board teamed up with the International Age Rating Coalition in an attempt to “streamline” the ratings process.

If you peruse the list of games refused classification since March, you’ll see a slew of digital and mobile titles, with names ranging from HoboSimulator to the strangely intriguing Measure Bra Size Prank.
When it comes to rating games, the IARC does not individually play titles, but rather, relies on developers responding to a questionnaire about various aspects of the content in their games.
The IARC then checks these answers against the ratings guidelines of its 36 member countries, chews the data up, and spits out a rating that it feels appropriate for each region.
The trial period for this new ratings system began in March, and will be in place for 12 months. The IARC’s ratings are suggested, not set in stone, and the classification board can accept or reject them at will.
With this in mind, the new system, if used appropriately, seems like a good way to review the masses of new games that pour onto mobile devices each month.
The current figures also raise the question of how much content was slipping through the cracks before the IARC trial began. We have contacted the Australian Classification Board for further comment.