Valve Appeals Australia Ban Of Left 4 Dead 2

Couched in an update of Left 4 Dead's ratings status in 11 locations is news the publisher on Wednesday appealed Australia's refusal to classify the game, effectively banning it for sale.

No other comment was given in the announcement. I've emailed Valve to ask for a little more detail on the case they've presented down under. Should it make any comment, I'll update here.

In all, only TK regions are still in process of rating (or reconsidering, in Australia's case) Left 4 Dead 2, due for release on November 17. The United Kingdom and New Zealand are still reviewing the game. Elsewhere—PEGI, ESRB, Japan, Germany, etc.—the game has all received M or equivalent ratings. Ireland's board hasn't rated it but has approved it for classification.


Comments

    Hopefully they offer up similar examples that have been waved through (L4D1, Dead Rising, Dead Space... every damn Resident Evil).

      No, don't do that or the OFLC will keep the ban on DR2 and turn round and ban all those other games, too.

        Ooops I meant L4D2, not DR2 - just watched the Dead Rising 2 trailer, getting my zombies mixed up :P

    You know... theres an awful lot of instances of the words "Dead" in that previous post... lol.

      dead on

        I'm dead tried of seeing the word 'dead' now.

    R18+ RATING PLEASE.

    woah woah woah...
    so Germany, a country tighter with ratings than us, has passed it... but we haven't?

    You've got to be kidding me...

      My thoughts exactly. Though actually I'm a bit suspect that this is true, 'cause if it is then Germany has a system just as broken as ours. TF2 for example has no blood in it whatsoever in Germany. All gibs were changed to rubber ducks and springs. Even alive characters didn't bleed like other regions did. That Germany would allow this amount of blood is odd.

      I think in the original post about this it was mentioned that the OFLC had a problem with the fact that you were killing "infected" humans, rather than undead humans/zombies. Valve should make the case that for all intents and purposes, the "infected" are simply zombies. They're not the Smith's down the road with a case of swine flu (or rabies as the post mentions). Tamiflu ain't fixing this infection.

      Ding!

        damn you and your stupid dings!

        Maybe they didn't even bother submitting an uncut version in Germany?

    IT'd be great if L4D2 could sneak past with an M rating, but we still have the R18 issue.

    I think they will take the tact of what the heck is so different between L4D1 and L4D2 and that one is ok and one is not

    pretty tough question to answer

    I'm under the distinct impression the ratings board has deliberately given this game RC so bring rise to the R18+ debate. The board's decision was not unanimous, a few of them considered it M15+, which is probably true, but by giving it RC it gets all the gamers in Australia rising up to say 'wtf is with our ratings system?'. I know we have all been saying it for a long time, but the involvement is much larger this time. I'm spotting articles on it everywhere... Call me crazy, but perhaps this time Atkinson will listen, it's a long shot but I'm willing to risk L4D2 over it.

      That's something interesting to notice. Though it'd be great if they somehow banned ODST(too late now), now THAT would get support. :P

      I think they realize that the R18 rating is unneeded, games are not created by demons from hell, and that in this crappy recession, our economy needs to squeeze every cent it can.

      ... You're crazy. Hey, you asked.

      But seriously, Atkinson uses games like L4D2 getting banned as evidence that "the system works". This decision will just reaffirm in his mind that he's right.

      It's all the games that get shoe-horned into an MA15+ rating despite seriously pushing the boundaries of the rating that should make him wake up and realise how flawed the system is without an R18+ category. But when that happens he just chooses to ignore it.

      The fact is he's never going to change his mind on the issue, unless his opposition to the R18+ rating become policatially untenable.

        Actually Blenny, you'll find Atkinson thinks quite the opposite. He DOESN'T trust the rating system. The problem is he thinks they're too lax. The sad part is it's a double standard. He doesn't want an R18+ games to become acceptable in Australia, but he still criticizes the ratings board when they let games like this through.

        The problem with previous incidents like Fallout 3 and GTA4 is that those games were going to get through regardless, and I bet the same will happen for L4D2. The influence of their developers and the outcry from the gaming community over such anticipated games is too great. The ratings board has no choice but to go lax, or force minor changes that ultimately do little to play down the problem.

        If L4D2 gets by, as great as that will be for us gamers, that will go to enforce Atkinson's point of view MORE than if it doesn't get through. All his seemingly moral (though misguided) motivations aside, he has to realise that these games are bigger than to let the ratings system stop them. They're going to get through regardless, and the fact they get through as MA15+ is worse both for his arguement and the effectiveness of the ratings system since it's letting games that should be rated R into the hands of younger audiences.

    So all the other countries that have access to an R18 equivalent rating, gave it an M15 equivalent anyway?

    Double Fail.

      You need to keep in mind that an ESRB "M" is actually 17+. So that's a higher age restriction than our MA15+ rating. According to Wikipedia (too lazy to confrim anywhere else) the ratings around the world for L4D2 are:
      CERO: Z
      ESRB: M
      OFLC: RC
      PEGI: 18+
      USK: 18+

      Those are all 18+ categories, except the ESRB's 17+. Hate to say it, but refusing the game an MA15+ rating here is actually consistent with the rest of the world.

      It's just our woefully out of date classification guidlines that are screwing us over. Of course this doesn't explain all the other games rated 18+ over-seas that get our MA15+ rating...

        I would say the reason our system rates games so differently from the rest of the world is becuase it is controlled by the government, whereas the other rating systems are industry-run and self regulating, added to the fact that our system was put in place in the 90's when games were vastly different in content and were not anticipated to become so mainstream and you have a system that is really poorly suited to the nature of the actual media it is rating.

        I wouldn't call our system is out of date even if it was created in 90's as the other reply suggests.

        The reason for no R18 is so that certain games don't make it onto the shelves and possibly ending up in the hands of underage children whom the government believe could be affected by images or content within the game. Drugs, alcohol, abuse & all that can affect young children.

        I totally understand why they ban certain games. But in this instance, L4D2 is pretty much L4D just different campaigns and few extra weapons. I understand they chose the melee being the main reason & thats the major difference between the two games - but its just kinda contradicting themselves by approving L4D1 but not L4D2.

        Either way - our system is not out of date - because they have a perfect reason for why our system isn't like everyone elses. It just affects those who are old enough to view/play this content that is deemed unsafe for underage children but we can handle it maturely.

        I do think we should have an R18 so things like this (games people really want to play) don't get banned. But at the same time i can understand the Governments decisions. However, i do believe their is a way they could release a R18 rating that also prevents young children from accessing the content & retailers could also help the government create ideas etc...

        Perhaps "out of date" was a poor choice of words. "Out of touch" may be a better description.

        While I agree that the government's aim is to keep certain content away from young children, the fact is the current system is failing to do that quite badly. In fact I believe it's having the very opposite effect, due to so many games intended for adult audiences being shoe-horned into the (poorly understood) MA15+ category.

        I hate to sound like an old prude, but personally I don't think games like GTA IV, Dead Space, Gears of War and Left 4 Dead are really suitable for 15 year-olds, and certainly not for younger children "accompanied by a parent or adult" which MA15+ allows for. These games should be restricted to people over 18, and if Australia had an 18+ rating available, I think it is much more likely that these game would receive an 18+ rating. As it stands they get squeezed in the MA15+ rating because the classification Board is stuck in the unenviable position of having to decide if the game gets an MA15+ or gets effectively banned.

        Introducing an R18+ rating doesn't mean it becomes open slather. Truly objectionable content could still be refused classification.

        The real test, I think, is comparing the number of games that get banned to the number of games released locally as MA15+, and 18+ in other countries. In an address to Parliament, Atkinson gave something like 6 examples of games refused classification as evidence "the system works". Games like Blitz - The League (drugs), Getting Up - Contents Under Pressure ("promoting crime") and I think both 50 Cent: Bullet Proof and GTA III (both of which were eventually released with very minor tweaks). At the time I took a look through my collection of about 30 Xbox 360 games, and found half were rated MA15+, but had received 18+ in most other countries (17+ in the US). That's just the games I happened to half on my shelf at the time!

        I mean does it really sound to anyone like the system is working to keep mature content out of the hands of minors??

        JAY:

        The current system is considered by many, especially the gaming industry itself, to be very much out of touch and out of date. It was only revised in the 90s, and only in the early 90s at that. Since the 90s, the face of gaming has changed severely. Take into account massive internet influence on gaming, the fact that studies which were not performed in the 90s that have confirmed that videogames do NOT create violence, that the average age of a gamer is 31 years old etc, these are a lot of facts alone that aren't taken into account. The current system is out of touch. The current system is broken and the current system needs severe revision. It's a wonder noones actually considered a class action lawsuit against the government to sue for discrimination :)

        The difference with other ratings system is that ours has R18+ rating and the reason is that in the 90's politicians did not anticipate that adults would play computer games and that there would be a need to classify computer games above MA 15+ and to this day we still do not have an R18+ hence it is out of date.

    If they can't get a rating, they should simply edit the game by zombifying the enemies a bit more so that they dont just look like infected people. Leaving in all gore etc. that other regions enjoy.

    It was the hairy-arses hanging out of hospital gowns.

      I thought it was about the infected raging clowns of death. I take it that the Classification Board hate clowns, and made up excuses about the melee weapons/gore to cover u[ their fear of them.

    If they ban the upcoming WoW expansion there will be rioting in the streets. Thats the perfect title to ban lol

    As much as I want to play this game, I really don't think it's a good idea to release it as M15+. THIS IS AN R-RATED GAME!

    That said, seeing as our classification system continues to fail us, I don't feel any urge to support it whatsoever.

    I HOPE THEY WIN APPEAL and it is released M15+.

    @wallet: The WoW games aren't actually classified, it's a "loophole" I suppose, whereby Blizzard aren't selling a game per se, but rather access to the World of Warcraft servers if I remember correctly.

    @Korwin: I don't know the appeals process for the OFLC, but in law examples of times when the guidelines have not been followed is generally an inadequate case. Just because someone made a mistake before does not mean it should be repeated (This is significantly different to precedent when no prior guidelines exist.)

    @People commenting on Michael Atkinson: While I believe he could still vote in favour of an R18+ rating allowing it to go through at this point, we should probably be more interested in the government who currently have the right to release the discussion paper on R18+ games. Bob Debus intended to have it released by now, but after he lost his position to Brendan O'Connor no progress has been made on it. Given Michael Atkinson's repeated refusal to budge on the subject it seems the discussion paper is currently our best chance.

      Wasn't Michael Atkinson sitting on those discussion papers though? Blocking them from going public until he was satisfied with them?

        The people opposing him said that, though he said to Kotaku that they were the ones delaying it.

        It's on an earlier Kotaku article
        http://www.kotaku.com.au/2009/04/r18_discussion_paper_to_be_released_shortly/

        He was but after the Attorneys General failed to come to a unanimous decision for the umpteenth time the office of the Minister for Home Affairs stepped in, agreeing to release the discussion paper under their name, rather than the Attorneys General, circumventing the requirement for a unanimous decision.

        For some reason they still haven't done it yet though, despite Bob Debus (the old Minister for Home Affairs) promising to have it out by now. I kind of wish he hadn't been shifted off that job because as my local member I have expressed my dissatisfaction with both the failure to make any progress on this matter and the progress being made on internet censorship, and while I got the standard reply about the filtering, he seemed genuinely interested in getting something done about the R18+ rating.

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