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AU to Block Web Games and Sales

Web filters to censor video games reports the Australian government is considering web-filtering sites that sell games that do not meet its local MA15+ rating as well as sites that host Flash games that violate this standard (thanks Akkinokage). This is a step backward for gamers who have held out hope that the AU would add an R18+ rating to allow the sale of adult games to adults. The story adds a related note that Minister Stephen Conroy and the Australian Government have been nominated for The Internet Industry Awards 2009. Here's a bit presenting various viewpoints on this:

Senator Conroy's spokesman said the filter would cover "computer games such as web-based flash games and downloadable games, if a complaint is received and the content is determined by ACMA to be Refused Classification". All games that exceed MA15+ are deemed to be RC.

The filtering could also block "the importation of physical copies of computer games sold over the internet which have been classified RC", the spokesman said.

Ron Curry, chief executive of the IEAA, said the move highlighted the "unacceptable situation" of not having an R18+ classification for video games. The industry has been fighting for changes to classification laws for years.

"It's through the introduction of an R18+ classification that adults will have access to age appropriate material and parents will have the full tool kit to understand the suitability of content for their children," he said.

Mark Newton, an ISP engineer and internet filtering critic, said the move to extend the filtering to computer games would place a cloud over online-only games such as World of Warcraft and Second Life, which aren't classified in Australia due to their online nature.

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