When Outlast was announced as a free game on Sony's PlayStation + service, Australians had a problem. The game hadn't been classified in Australia, therefore it wasn't available on the store. But that all changed as of yesterday — the Australian Classification Board has now classified Outlast and, from tomorrow Australian PlayStation+ users will be able to download it at no cost.
Users in countries where the game is not classified will have to settle for Sound Shapes instead.
Outlast received an R18+ rating as a result of its high impact themes, and it was the first game in a while to raise a familiar set of issues with regards to Australian classification. The main issue? It's expensive, and all too often the cost of classifying a video game means it simply isn't financially viable to release certain games here in Australia. This is especially a problem when it comes to small digital games. This is why it the Australian e-shop is often short a few games.
Hopefully the government will begin implementing the recommendations of the Australian Law Reform Commission sooner rather than later. Digital distribution is becoming increasingly dominant and we're close to a tipping point. It would be a shame if Australian consumers and businesses continued to be limited by an archaic system of classification.