This morning we got news that classification in Australia is about to change for the better, with Australia now allowing digital games to be classified using questionnaires. But on the same day we received a timely reminder of how antiquated the entire system actually is.
How long has '3D' been a thing? And by '3D' I mean, the thing you have to put glasses on for. Avatar 3D. The kind of 3D you have to pay extra for in the cinema. The gimmick they used to sell you expensive new TVs.
Point being, 3D has been a thing for years? Avatar came out in 2009. That was almost six years ago.
The reason I bring this up is simple: today people charged with sending products in for classification received an email. Great news everyone! You no longer have to classify the 3D and 2D version of a product separately! Hurray!
Wait, what? So until now publishers and movie distributors had to classify the exact same product twice because there was a 3D version of the exact same product?
Apparently so. Take a look at the image below. Look at how many times Avatar has gone through classification. Six times. Six times!
I was not aware of this. It seems absolutely insane. Even more insane is how long its taken for the government to rectify the situation. Starting from tomorrow — not six years ago — tomorrow Australian companies no longer have to submit the same product twice if there is a 3D version of that product. Basically it took almost six years for this completely common sense decision to be made, implemented and put into practice.
What hope do we have of changing something significant when it takes so long to make a change that no reasonable person could disagree with?
As per an email sent from the Classification Board:
Schedule 4 expands the exceptions to the ‘modifications rule’ in the Commonwealth Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Act 1995 (the Act). This rule provides that, subject to certain limited exceptions, classified films and computer games become unclassified when modified. A new exception in Schedule 4 applies to a format change from 2D to 3D (and vice versa). Changing the format from 3D to 2D, and vice versa, now does not require the new format of the film to be classified.
What does this mean for me?
Basically, it means that you no longer have to submit 2D and 3D versions of your film or computer game for classification, where the film or computer game is likely to be given the same classification in both formats. This also means a cost saving, as you no longer have to submit and pay for two classification decisions for a film, where the only change is 2D/3D format.
The hilarious thing about this is 3D, as a product, has pretty much come and gone. Movies aren't really shot in 3D any more, no-one buys 3D Blu-rays. As a technology it's pretty much almost dead. This amendment has been put into place long after it was ever close to being relevant.