Video game classification doesn't just affect our experience as consumers, it affects the local games industry as a whole. So when we continue to operate a system that was invented before video games came on CD-ROMs we're, to quote an episode of South Park, 'gonna have a bad time'.
The Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) made a series of recommendations as to how classification in Australia could and should evolve. Those changes included shifting some of the burden of classification to the industry itself, alongside a more streamlined consistent approach to classification across all different types of media (movies, TV, video games, etc). The problem now, it seems, is not the recommendations themselves, but convincing the government to implement those recommendations.
The iGEA, as representatives of the Australian Games industry, simply wants those recommendations implemented.
So what's the delay? The ALRC's recommendations were tabled in March 2012. That was 20 months ago. There has been little progress, in terms of classification as a large scale thing, since that report was tabled. Considering the release of new consoles and their focus on digitally distributed content, it seems as though some sort of change is absolutely paramount. It needs to happen quickly and needs to happen soon.
"[I]t is critical that further delay is avoided and that the full extent of the ALRC’s recommendations are properly considered," said the iGEA in the report, and called for the ALRC's co-regulatory recommendations for classification be implemented.
Perhaps of more importance is the inflexibility of the classification scheme itself, with its dependence on the consensus of state Attorneys-General. Some sort of shake up there is required, to ensure that change can occur in a timely manner when change is required.
Video games and media in general is a fast moving space. That pace isn't going to slow down anytime soon and, at the moment, we are completely ill-equipped to cope with that pace.