Further Proof That Australian Classification Is Behind The Times

Further Proof That Australian Classification Is Behind The Times

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.



  • Exposed breasts in 3D content is considered of a higher impact than 2D mediums due to the increased realism that may be perceived by vulnerable audiences.

    • Lord forbid there was a first person cinema experience option too. Before you know it we would have cinema companies pulling movies because it doesn’t fit in with their demographic and there would be a bunch of bleeding hearts all signing disingenuous petitions chock full of misinformation.

    • Less 3DS games, it seems. We get one installment of the latest SEGA 3D Classics, and months later, we still haven’t received the second installment. The third one, OutRun 3D, comes out everywhere else in the world tomorrow, and we still haven’t gotten Super Fantasy Zone… grrrrrrr…..

  • Article idea: Canvas opinion of indies for their impressions of dealing with Australian laws so their games can be sold here.

    The big publishers/consoles won’t say much out of school, but indies…..

    • I have a 3D TV and Bluray player. Have about 20 3D movies. Good to watch. Haven’t bought anything for a while mind you.

    • Same, do you use PC? what player do you use to watch? I always find its a bit hot and miss getting them to work

    • I imagine the theory behind it is that, technically, there are more frames in 3D (whether that’s true or not I don’t know) so you have more frames that may contain restricted content. They should both be reviewed but not classified separately unless there is a difference.

      • Or possibly because 3d can make some people a bit queasy and they were thinking of that but why that’d qualify as a classification issue I’m not sure. Chances are it’d just be because it’s technically a separate product since it’s not 100% identical to the 2D version

    • Likely due to semantics, and that a 3D edition of a movie would technically be a different product with a different name. Either that or simple stupidity.

    • From the quote in the article, it seems there is a (sensible) rule that if you modify the product, then the old classification does not automatically apply to the new version. This is needed, since allowing arbitrary modifications could e.g. inserting frames of pornography into the film Fight Club style with no change in classification.

      They then have a list of exceptions for certain types of modifications that will not invalidate the classification. 3D/2D conversion was not on this list of exceptions, but now is. I am surprised it took this long.

  • And more importantly, why is there a PG-rated Avatar there amongst all the M-rated ones.

  • I can understand a film needing to be re-classified when released on DVD/Blu-ray as it often has additional content on it that wasn’t in the cinematic release, so I’m okay with that. The 2D/3D thing was pretty silly though, yeah.

    Movies aren’t really shot in 3D any more

    I don’t think many movies were actually ever “shot” in 3D. They were shot in 2D and the 3D was added post-production (I have experience with CG animated film and even there, the scenes were completed in 2D first and the stereo (3D) was added after that). I think the one exception to this was The Hobbit films that were shot at 48 frames and then downscaled to 24 for the 2D version.

  • The 3D cycle will recommence in about 10 years, then everyone will remember that they hate it and it will hibernate once again.

  • Part of the reason that there are so many Avatar classifications is that there are multiple versions of the film. The 2D/3D distinction explains the first two film classifications, but the third is a year later and is a different length. So this is most likely from the “Avatar: Special Edition” theatre run they had then.

    I guess having multiple versions shown in the cinema might explain why multiple versions were classified for DVD/Bluray too.

  • Though not a movie, a good comparison for rating difference look up Atelier Rorona and Atelier Rorona Plus. The original game was given a PG rating where as the Plus version was given a R rating because of ‘References to Sexual Violence’. This game series would not have topless women being sexually assaulted, it is insanely cute and upbeat.

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