Question Time: Ron Curry From The iGEA

I'm pretty excited about today's Question Time because, for the next hour, we are being joined by the one and only Ron Curry. Ron is the CEO of the Interactive Games And Entertainment Association, and a pretty swell human being. He is the man you see on TV whenever the R18+ issue, or any other gaming issue for that matter, makes it to mainstream media. He is the hero we need right now, he is our port in the storm!

He's also one of the few human beings in NSW that actually watches the A-League, and is an avid supporter of Sydney F.C.

For the next hour he will answer your questions! Drop them in the comments below!


Comments

    Ron, can you tell us what role the iGEA plays in regards to issues like classification and game prices in Australia?

      With respect to classification, we are really actively involed at all levels. We work closely with the Classification Board, the government, Opposition and other stakeholders to ensure the best possible environment for comsumers and industry. We are also part of an international group looking at apps and alike and how we can classify them on a more global basis. By this we don't mean in a regulation sense, but more in a way of advising purchasers on the age suitability.

      As far as pricing goes, that's controlled by publishers, distributers and retailers and sits outside my area of responsibility.

    Wait are we supposed to ask in the comment box? If we are then here are my questions to Ron.

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    Hi Ron

    I am currently doing my postgrad studies on gaming piracy and would just like your views on it.

    Firstly, how does the industry view piracy in the digital age given that despite increased legislative and technological efforts to curb it, it hasn't been effective. Do you think there are any less policy-driven way to stop or at least decrease piracy rates such as lowering the price of games?

    Secondly, a recent report by MusicMetris (http://www.techdirt.com/blog/?tag=mainstream) argue that file-sharing has become mainstream. How does the iGEA and the greater gaming community view this research? Do you agree or disagree?

      I dont think we will ever stamp out piracy, no more than we will ever stamp out any other crime. We operate in an environment where it's more about mitigation than prevention. The way our industry is evolving with models such as 'freemium', subscriptions and alike will offer consumers a much wider way to decide on what and when to play and this takes away some of the purchasing pressure. While we will continue to work on policy issues, it's more important to get the business models right.

      I haven't had a chance to read the MusicMetris report, so I can't comment, sorry. If there's a break in the questions here, I will jump over to look at it.

      If you'd like to have a deeper conversation for your postgrad studies, we'd be really happy to have a chat as we probably can't do it justice here. Drop us a note at info[at]igea.net and we can work something out.

    Hi Ron,

    Do you see more publishers and distributors getting on board with gaming expos such as the EB Expo and now the PAX Melbourne show? Could this increased exposure\direct interaction with gamers encourage AAA Devs to open more studios in Australia?

      Last week we saw pretty much the whole industry get behind EBX and I suspect the same wqill apply to PAX. I'd certianly hope that this will have a positive impact on the development community here.

      Expos alone wont sovle the developemnt problem so we have to look towards government to help level the playing field a bit more with tax offsets etc,

    Good morning, Ron! Every now and then I see the iGEA at the bottom of one of Mark's newsposts, but I don't hear about you guys in the news very often. What have you (and your organisation) planned for the next 3 months?

      Hey Fenixius - right now we are working with State and Terriroty governments to get the varioius R18+ legislations in place for January 1. There's also work being done with retailers, publishers and the Classification Board to ensure everything is ready.

      We're also working behind the scenes to have the recommendations from the ALRC review implemented, which involves lots of discussions across all levels of government and industry and with other stakeholder groups.

      Some of the less interesting stuff is dealing with the various copyright reviews that are ticking over here and in NZ.

        Thanks again for stopping by, Ron!

        As a law student, copyright reviews are certainly not the less interesting stuff! Can you tell me any more about what's happening with the ALRC, with the various copyright law reviews, or what work your organisation does with retailers?

        I've previously worked in the gaming retail sector, and I was obviously too low on the org chart to see your group's influence, but it'd be great to hear what sorts of input you give to the retailers!

          Our inhouse lawyer agrees with you and chastised me on the "less interesting" comment as well.

          The ALRC are conducting a review on the exceptions to copyright infringement (see http://www.alrc.gov.au/inquiries/copyright-and-digital-economy). This review will continue over the next year, with the final report from the ALRC due in November 2013.

          There's also a review on TPM's as well at the moment.

          Our work with retailers is generally around how to police the sale of games, reminding them of their obligations, providing advice on Parental Controls. It's more an advisory approach then a consultative one.

          Last edited 10/10/12 11:50 am

            And like I offered Postgrad, feel free to hit us up if you'd like to dicsuss in more depth.

    Oh, and more importantly, what games are you looking forward to picking up over the Christmas period!?

      There are some amazing games and even a new console coming out for Christmas. It has already started with everyone in our house loving FIFA 13. The boys are pestering me for Halo 4, COD Black Ops 2 and even Skylanders Giants. My daughter can’t wait to get her copy of Just Dance 4 and the new Wonderbook peripheral from Sony – JK Rowling of course. After playing the Wii U at the EB Expo I am pretty sure we will be getting Luigi’s Mansion for the office.

    What are your thoughts on the way each state has been handling the implementation of R18+?

    WA sent the amendments to a review committee the other day, what do you think about that? Can we expect other states to do something similar?

      Some states have managed to make this an easy process, while others are doing as expected :)

      It's not unusual for WA to send Bills to a review committee, so this is more then likely a speed hump rather than a road block. There's still time on their legislative calendar to have all the necessary changes in place for Jan 1.

    Would you ever want to swap lives with Tim Curry, just for a day?

    Do you believe that Australia - the country where people were so "outraged" that they couldn't pick up prostitutes then kill them and steal their money that they were driven to import - is truly ready for R18+ games?

      Mawt, there were times in 80's where I had some Rocky Horror moments, so I've walked (or was that danced?) a mile in his shoes and prefer my sensible shoes now :)

      I've believed Australia has been ready for R18+ games for over 10 years!

    What are you thoughts regarding interactivity vs cclassification. Do you agree/disagree with the notion that because games are interactive that they should be assessed differently to more traditional mediums?

      I think the jury is out on the interactivity issue, though it's an important one and we should continue to monitor future research. I largely agree with the government's position that there's no conclusive evidence to suggest that games are more impactful than other media. In that sense, I'd suggest they should not be held to a higher level of scrutiny than more traditional mediums.

      It's important to note though that I dont advocate a free for all. There's content that's not suitable for certain ages (or at all in some cases) and it's important that content is clearly identified as to it's age appropriateness.

    Can ADP bring home some silverware for Sydney FC?

      FInally a question on something that is actually more important than video games!

      Hmmm, I can only say yes.

    How do you see the health of the Australian Gaming Industry at the moment and for the future?
    Can you see the role of simulation or branching out into other aspects such as serious games in the future to help boost the Australian industry?

    Hi, Mr. Ron. Do you like Tom Cruise? Have you, perchance, seen a little movie I like to call Cocktail? In this movie, Tom Cruise is like the Chris Angel of the bartending -- because he’ll freak with your mind whilst also making you a refreshing drink to enjoy at your very own leisure; that's the good thing about it. One of the taglines for Cocktail was: “When he pours, he reigns!” It’s really kind of something amazing. “A real kind of something-something,” as I like to say.

    I’m also working on a catch phrase, you’ve probably seen it, it’s getting kind of famous. I say, “That’s so cool to Cruise, baby,” I say it when I think I’ve seen something that Tom Cruise might approve of.

    Do you remember the name of Charles Forster Kane’s decaying pleasure palace in feature film Citizen Kane? You know, Mr. Ron, that palace was based on William Randolph Hearst’s castle at Sam Simeon, California. That’s right, Hearst Castle was more than just a 240,000 acre ranch, Hearst Castle was the greatest ever unfinished monument to the American dream inside some kind of metaphor for the folly implicit to fallen empires consumed like bold addictions to frivilous pursuit, and the evil that men do. And maybe even some kind grand gesture to the terrible and infinite possibilites of all creation.

    Then Mr. Hearst bought a house in Beverly Hills, have you seen it? It’s the house in the Godfather where they filmed the scene with the horse’s head? And how it’s in the bed? With the movie director? It’s the movie director’s horse? You know what I’m talking about, Mr. Ron. There was a time that house was the world’s most expensive private residence, but I can’t be so sure that holds true in today’s often volatile markets. I think it’s a little something-something like Michael Douglas and Charlie Sheen do on the Wall Streets. Did you know Charlie Sheen’s name in Wall Street is Bud Fox! That’s kind of a funny thing, don’t you think, Mr. Ron? Bud Fox! You wouldn’t read about it, I tell you.

    But I was thinking again about Citizen Kane, and it’s another funny thing, because Mr. Hearst was, in many ways, the genesis - the motivation or catalyst, if you will - for Charles Foster Kane; Orson Welles starred as Mr. Kane; Mr. Hearst once owned the palatial Beverly Hills residence that was the backdrop for that now infamous scene in The Godfather; and Orson Welles very nearly landed the title role of Don Vito Corleone in that very same movie. It is - if only for the most fleeting moment - a perfect circle. But they say “a moment” is all you can ever really expect from perfection. I now believe that to be true, Mr. Ron, on account of certain things I have seen.

    Did you know that Marlon Brando and Orson Welles both very much enjoyed hot dogs? They say Orson Welles could eat 16 hot dogs at any given time! Marlon Brando? I’m glad you asked, Mr. Ron, because Brando was always good for at least a half-dozen hot dogs in the early hours before sunrise on another electric day in Hollywood. I don’t enjoy so much the mystery of a hot dog. But I’ll lose myself in that mystery, all the same, to remember a certain golden era where everything seemed to stand for something more, when everything was a little bit less expendable. I think - at the end of the day - that is the very subtext of the hot dog.

    Have you seen Vanilla Sky, Mr. Ron? It’s no Days of Thunder, that’s for sure.

    They say it never rains in Southern California, and I know the sun always shines in Arizona, that’s for sure. I hope the sun shines for you, Mr. Ron. I hope the sun shines everyday.

    Your old pal,

    Milford Earle.

    Hi Ron

    Oh wow thank you! Your views will be very useful for my research (though I am already finished with my data collection phase but I can always add one more if you are alright with it). Also I read further down below that you are involved in the ALRC review examining the copyright exceptions. If anything could you push for the exception for TPM circumvention to format shift DVD's and Blu-rays. This was examined 3 years ago but was knocked back by the review process.

      We look forward to hearing from you.

      We're still thinking through our response to the ALRC Review, but it's open to all, so why not put in a submission as well on the exception?

        Just sent you an email to take up your offer!

    Hey! I watch the A-League! (and support Sydney FC)

    Non-game related question then (too late probably), thoughts on Del Piero?

      A reserved confidence mate. The first game was pretty scrappy and not a whole lot of cohesion to my mind, but it's early days. Here's hoping he offers some maturity to the team and binds them together. But it's a game of 11, so we can't put all he responsibility on his head.

        Totally. I'm also hoping his experience will help steer the team in a new and better direction eventually.

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