Today at Game-Tech, the Assistant Secretary from the Classifications Operations Branch, Jane Fitzgerald, discussed the difficulties involved in classifying thousands upon thousands of apps a rapidly evolving mobile environment. Could we move to a system that enabled the Australian Games Industry to self regulate and make everyone's job a little easier?
"It's quite a leap," she claimed, "but not an inconceivable one."
Jane discussed a moment of weakness overseas, when the overwhelming amount of mobile apps available on iPhone and Android started to really hit home.
"I was in California and one of those ads for the app store came on," she began. "'There’s now 79,000 apps on the app store.' The regulator in me said oh my god – that's 79,000 instances of non compliance!
"I was sitting in the same place recently and up came a new ad," she continued, "and it said there were 400 or 500 thousand apps now available and I thought - in terms of the time and the exponential growth - you know, it’s like you want to pull the blanket over your head and hope for the best!"
Later during the presentation, Jane was asked about the possibilities of industry self regulation when it comes to apps, and video games in general.
"I imagine it will be given real and serious consideration by the ALRC," she claimed. "You have analogous models in relation to broadcasting, in that there are codes of practice that broadcasters must comply with. If they don’t conform a member of the public is allowed to complain. So it’s a complaints driven process.
"I imagine that the ALRC will look at those types of models, and I know that there are a number of large players who are pushing for that sort of approach."
The idea of self regulation has been put forward by many, including Brendan O'Connor himself. It'll be interesting to see precisely what the ALRC come back with when they present their findings early in 2012. Sadly, whatever happens - during July's SCAG meeting, or in the ALRC's presentation - any change will most likely be a gradual one, as the government passes the legislative amendments required.