Ausgamers has posted a great article on the Office of Film and Literature's stance on online-only games, with World of Warcraft and its lack of a classification the focus of the piece.
Given the push for an R18+ classification for video games and the controversy over our version of GTA IV, the story makes for some hardcore pondering about not only the nature of online games, but the effectiveness of our classification system.
So, what did the OFLC have to say about WoW's non-rating?
[It]let me know that World of Warcraft was not rated by the OFLC - in fact, was never even submitted for classification - it was a "waste of time" as the game is exclusively online, exclusively multiplayer, and has no defined start and end. Thus it is inherently unclassifiable.
The article goes on to say that while older MMOs, including Dark Age of Camelot and EverQuest, did receive ratings, newer titles such as Guild Wars and EVE Online have not.
Now, here's where the pondering gets down right scientific. Well, as scientific as hypothetical situations go:
...it should be noted that in the current situation described to us by the OFLC, an entirely online version of Grand Theft Auto would not need to be submitted to the OFLC for classification.
Would Rockstar/Take 2's shaky relationship with the OFLC be reason enough for the board to give a GTA MMO a second look, while other titles have passed through unhindered? Quite the question.
At the very least, the lack of classification for online-only games is another weakness of our classification system, and indeed that of other countries. Your thoughts, they have food.
Why World of Warcraft has no OFLC Rating [Ausgamers]