What Does EA Think Of The Left 4 Dead 2 Banning?

We know the Valve were "pretty bummed" about the decision to refuse classification for Left 4 Dead 2 in Australia. But how about the game's publisher, Electronic Arts, surely they must be pretty bummed too?

The Australian Classification Board ruled last week that Left 4 Dead 2 "contains violence that is high in impact and is therefore unsuitable for persons aged under 18 to play." The Board found that the "frequent and intense depictions of violence" exceeded the guidelines allowed for an MA15+ rating, the highest allowed under our classification scheme.

Gamespot AU has heard from EA's Tiffany Steckler, who commented on the ruling:

"It’s funny that a place like Australia, which has come up with some pretty violent material in the past with something like Mad Max, can effectively ban video games for the same reason.

"EA believes that adults should have the right to make their own choices when it comes to the content they consume."

Tiffany speaks a lot of sense.

We're still following up with both Valve and EA to find out their plans for the title in Australia. We've asked if they plan to appeal the decision or edit the game to meet the MA15+ rating. We'll let you know when they've decided on those plans.

EA responds to L4D 2 banning down under [Gamespot AU]


Comments

    APPEAL DAMMIT!

    Awesome pic.
    V.Well done indeed
    Congrats whoever did this.

    Here's hoping EA uses their mega powered evil empire for good for once and actually does something about the system rather than caving and making changes.

      It seems to me that EA has pretty much turned a new leaf since 08.

        Agreed, EA are far from what they once were. They deserve a little more respect these days.

    I'd rather see EA push a R18 Rating.

    I say leave it to the fans to decide - do we want to pay for a dummed down version of the game, or do we want a publisher to grow some balls and say gtfo to our ancient rating system.

    I say kill the MA15+ and just replace it with a solid R18+ - I've never understood the difference between the M and MA (especially considering they both are recommended to 15yr olds and up)

      MA is restricted legally (you need ID) to over people 15 whilst M is only recommended, giving bad parents an excuse.

    “EA believes that adults should have the right to make their own choices when it comes to the content they consume.”

    Wow, they pretty much just nailed the whole R18+ ratings debate right on the head

      Unfortunately that's not good enough for Micheal Atkinson, who's the one actively lobbying against the R18 rating for games. It's not that he mistrusts adults, it's that he mistrusts children who will find workarounds for the system, as well as parents who make bad decisions for their children.

      Of course, by that logic we shouldn't even have a ratings system, we should just have 'legal' and 'banned' games. If he doesn't trust the ratings system, why have it at all?

    I know its up to the Government and some stupid usually overweight/overpaid/waste tax payers money Ministers to make the final decision.

    But can't we as citizens or companies like EA Games not sue, but appeal or pledge for a system like R18 to be brought in. I mean it affects business for EA Games and retailers and the developers.

    There should be a way to get our voice heard even more and have a chance. I mean do Australia have that choice like America do with Prop #'s in elections to vote for some like this. I mean the yanks voted no to gay marriage and yes to banning caged eggs in california. can't we do something like that for this!!!!

      From what I know, all state generals have to vote for the R18 rating. Micheal Atkinson keeps saying no, and if he had the chance, he'd ban R-rated movies, too.

      This is harming our economy and increasing piracy.

      Since EA is such a big corporation, I bet they'll try to get somewhere. EA + pissed off people might be able to make a difference.

      C'mon EA, you've got all that cash, it's time for a bribe!

      There is a way the government could listen to the public. They could release a discussion paper on the subject with a call for comment.

      All that is stopping this from happening is South Australian Attorney-General Michael Atkinson: He'd prefer that games like Grand Theft Auto 4 continue to be released as MA15+.

    Even if something as big as EA pushed for us to get an R rating, it probably wouldn't work. The OFLC are too incompetent to know just how big EA is in the gaming world and even then, they probably don't respect the opinions of anyone in the gaming industry anyway. In the end, all that bureaucratic government bull would still get in the way.

      The OFLC doesn't exist anymore, and hasn't for over two years. The fact that gamers still point to a closed agency when laying blame is a huge problem in my opinion. This is a political issue, and if we're to be taken seriously we need to keep our argument up-to-date.

        It does exist, it's just called the Classification Board.

          When the OFLC existed, it was the parent agency for the classification board and classification review board. When the OFLC was shut down, those two boards were moved to the Attorney General's department.

          The OFLC was never the same as the classification board.

        That's flawed logic, David. In political terms it's more than just a name change, and it makes our arguments sound outdated. It'd be different if it had only just closed, but it's been over two years. It's time for us all to get up to date.

        There's also the issue that the Classification Board doesn't set legislation regarding what ratings we have. They're working within a system that is mandated to them. They don't set the rules, and some of these games genuinely shouldn't be 15+. They have no other option than an RC for such games, and it seems a little off for gamers to rile up against them for it.

        I'm all for fighting the good fight, but let's fight the right people, shall we? Perhaps a certain Attorney-General...

      They may not understand how big EA is in gaming terms but that's not what is important. EA is massive in business terms and the Australian government makes a lot of money from them. If EA stands up and says, 'screw this, we aren't releasing ANYTHING in Australia until this is fixed', even anti-gaming crusaders would be forced to take notice.
      They could bluff their way through it if they were really ballsy.

    Mad Max? Cmon .. how about Wolf Creek.

      Or more recently, Van Diemans Land. Talk about dark content.

      I'm going with House of the Dead on this one... Unless they gone ahead and stuffed this one... or the Red Tape has crossed a wiring in someone's brain because the board is running short of cash and want someone to fork out more money to say, "Yes we Can!"

      ..or BMX Bandits!?

    Ideologically, yeah, I'm pretty annoyed that this has happened. But won't the primary distribution model for any Valve game be Steam? And since Steam isn't localised, won't we just be able to download it? The same goes for Direct2Drive. I don't find myself even upset for local retailers. EB, JB Hi-Fi, these companies make a lot of money from games but I don't see them mounting the kind of credible political lobbying that other industries use when things don't go their way. So I don't have a lot of sympathy for them. I'll buy Left 4 Dead 2 from Steam, just like I bought Left 4 Dead 1. If the exchange rate stays stable, it will be cheaper than any price I can pay in a store.

    So the only people losing out (apart from some existential argument over the 'free speech' losing out), are the retailers. Are any of us going to shed a tear if EB doesn't make any money from this game? They don't support PC gaming anyway unless it's related to the Sims, or WoW.

    I'd like to see the OFLC equalise their rating systems across all mediums; but I'm also sensible enough to know that this won't happen unless the industry pushes the Government too. The industry is failing to lobby the Government, and the grass roots 'gaming lobby' is about as credible as a Guy Fawkes mask wearing Anonymous member trying to get the Internet Content Filter scrapped.

    EA is one of the industry's biggest players. So if they're so perturbed about the decision, why don't their PR guys called the IEAA's Government Relations guys, and get a meeting with the Federal Attorney General?

      The ban apparently also affects Steam. Australians will be unable to buy L4D2 over steam.

        How does that work? When I boot up Steam, it looks identical to the way Steam looks in any other country. Is Steam going to identify every .au IP and stop them from downloading the game?

        More like the ban just makes it illegal to download Steam. I don't think the AFP are going to track down every single Steam user who downloads an RC game.

        j5, Valve don't allow people with the Australian accounts buy the game. It's all I heard, And David has comfirmed it multiple times before.

      j5 has targeted the wrong part of the industry with his comments about retailers. It's not the retailers, it's the publishers. EA, Activision, Namco Bandai(formerly Atari), Ubisoft, AFA, Mindscape. The list goes on.

      Australian publishers charg retailers WAY TOO much. How much do you think a retailer pays for a game with a $99 RRP? Around $75. Do you think that is an acceptable profit margin? Freight, storage, handling + other expenses, all has to come out of that $24.

      If you just used google to search for games, you'd find heaps of "smaller" retailers in australia with OK (best that can be done) pricing, with huge stocks. I work for one, but no name dropping.

      Stop blaming the retailer for pricng, availability or even industry advocation. That should be the Publishers job...and they don't care.

    As part of the project i did at uni i did an impact on the Australian economy statement and projections in terms of revenue, jobs and investment

    My economic projection was that based on growth at the time that in 2015 it will become economically unviable to not have R18+, the investment, jobs and revenue will demand it.

    In a time where our economy needs all the help it can get, growth should not be stopped. The problem is the opposition may agree to this sentiment but to come out and say violent games are ok, is political suicide which is why no one in parliament despite privatley supporting R18+ will do it.

    What needs to happen is someone has to prove to parliament that without R18+, things are being shoved into the wrong categories. Until someone comes up with such a way to do so convincingly this will continue.

    It's not the fault of the classification board. They simply apply the guidelines to see what category the content fits into. The problem here is having no R18+ category. Without this they have no choice but to issue a refused classification notice. It's a political thing that requires all states to unanamously agree on and it only takes one disenter to stop it proceeding.

    The problem is that despite many Australians disagreeing with the current rating systems and wanting to voice their opinions there has been as of yet no attempt to do so as a collective and in a organized manner. A great thing would be to just have some one create a ready to print letter describing that you are a voter and you disagree with the ratings system, everyone who cares prints one out, signs their name and all on the same day send their copy to whoever it is we need to complain too.

      R18games.com.au has you covered. Template letter, list of recipients for each state. Best bet is to send actual physical mail as it'll require someone actually handling it as opposed to just deleting it.

      http://www.r18games.com.au/help/

        They are a great resource for what is happening as well.

        trust me every letter gets read.

        You're best bet it to write to OConnor demanding he release the discussion paper... nothing will get done until this occurs.

        BTW just looked at that link.. Bob Deebus was never the Australian Attorney-General, he was the Minister for Home Affairs and hasn't been for 4 months now... The new MHA is Brendan OConner

    Whatever happened to this paper?

    http://www.kotaku.com.au/2009/04/r18_discussion_paper_to_be_released_shortly/

      Deebus retired and the new MHA doesn't seem to care is my guess.

      I say a letter writing campaign to the MHA might get him to listen.

    I have no problem with EA throwing around their considerable financial power in order to persuade the Australian government.

    Maybe that'll be enough to wake our lousy government up...........but I doubt it.

    Hey David. Whats the chance of putting together an article in the wake of the l4d2 ban clearing up the confusion about who is responsible for what in the classification process. What the laws actually are and what people can do about it if they want to be heard?

    And I think I actually like EA for some reason...

      excellent idea...

    That's Australia for you ... the govt loves violent movies, but hates violent video games. It's simply a case of govt not realising how mature a medium games can be. As soon as they wake up to the idea that games are a legitimate artistic medium, legalisation should be forthcoming.

    Import it
    beat the silly OFLC at their own game
    just ignore them
    import DVDS
    import everything
    that'll teach them

      You can't just import it. Well you could, but when you went to activate it through steam to play it, it wouldn't work. Contrary to what some people have been posting on various comment threads steam is localised and they need to comply with the legislation surrounding classification.

    Is there anything to stop a person importing a copy of the game from the US? Assuming they release a censored version of the game here, would a US copy of the game be able to play just fine on the Australian servers?

      You think there will be servers? I seriously doubt it.

    Valve have just announced that they are appealing and so they should. Give 'em hell Valve.
    Meanwhile, I have a message for the OFLC and that is this... "Hey guys, does this ring a bell - we aint killing nothing, they was dead before we got here, so why the moral high ground?. Now go and watch Dawn of the Dead or some other Zombie movie"

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