August 19, 2010 | by Andrew Kameka
Android gamers in Australia may eventually find it tougher to discover good games if one member of the government has his way.
Home Affairs Minister Brendan O’Connor wants to force mobile game developers to go through the same classification process that console games face, which could lead to banned games, developers not releasing games in the country, or blocking the entire games section of the Android Market.
Australian regulations require that video games be reviewed by the Classification Board to see if they are suitable for sale. Inappropiate games are then banned. While there are few Android games that are likely to be banned for common reasons like digital gore or “sexual innuendo,” as reported by DailyTech, some game developers could pull out because of the economic burden that the review process would put on their efforts.
Minister O’Connor wants developers to pay $470 to $2,040 dollars to be classified. Given the meager financial rewards of most mobile games, if a game produces revenue at all, it’s likely that some game-makers will opt to not release their product in Australia. That could mean when Android finally does progress to the point where we see a decent first-person war game or something too racy for a 15-year-old, developers would block the Australian version of the Android Market from accessing it.
The instant publishing model of the Android Market could create massive headaches for Google and make implementing the classification process impossible. Similar problems with the South Korean Game Rating Board forced Google to remove the entire Games section from the Android Market in that country.
The Australian government will reach a decision on this issue at a later date.