DayZ has officially been refused classification for almost two months now, but after a lengthy delay and the fact that Valve doesn't exactly operate on the same wavelength as Australia, the survival shooter remained available for sale. Today, that is no longer the case.
While DayZ is still available for purchase on Steam in other territories — for $US44.99 — that option isn't available to Australians, unless you use a VPN. This doesn't affect anyone who already bought the game, but any Australians looking to pick it up before the next content update, or as a meagre form of protest around the classification guidelines, can no longer do so.
The local price still appears when you run a search:
But you can't add the game to your cart when you hit the store page:
Following the intense interest in the removal of a five-year old game from the PlayStation and Xbox One digital stores, the Classification Board took the unusual step of posting a public statement clarifying the timeline of the game's classification. This was partially because the game had the dubious honour of being both refused classification and being rated MA15+ at the same time.
Bohemia Interactive, the developers of DayZ, had submitted a digital application to have the game rated through the online IARC tool, while DayZ's Australian distributor, Five Star Games, applied separately to have the game rated for physical release in Australia. Five Star Games noted in their application that the physical release of the game would include the ability to heal by smoking cannabis, which cannot be rated under the existing classification guidelines. Bohemia didn't make that note in their application through the IARC Tool, and as a result they received a MA15+ rating, and Five Star's application was refused classification.
After the surprise banning of DayZ's physical sale, and the Classification Board's decision to overrule the existing MA15+ rating, one of the most popular survival games of the decade suddenly found itself removed from sale in Australia on all platforms. That ban, however, looks like it will be lifted soon. And the reason why is because developers Bohemia Interactive have opted to take the path of least resistance, one taken by Bethesda 11 years ago.
Bohemia has already pledged to modify DayZ worldwide, so it shouldn't be too long before DayZ is available for Australians on Steam once more. It'll likely only happen after the game is re-rated by either the Classification Board or through the IARC process, and given the circumstances (and the impending physical release) it might be a few weeks before everything is lined up. It's an annoying process given that the existing version of DayZ shouldn't have been pulled from sale in the first place — the existing version of the game on Steam doesn't violate any classification guidelines, only future content that hasn't been released.
But hey, that's what the Australian classification system is like. No wonder many developers just ignore this process altogether, unless a platform holder like Nintendo forces them to.
Games don't get banned all that often, and every time it happens there's a surge of interest in Australia's archaic classification system. That's generally followed by a torrent of abuse against the Classification Board, occasionally Australia itself, and more recently, a bit of public vitriol directly against the members of the board. But as was the case when Fallout 3 and Mortal Kombat were completely banned from sale, the same situation applies with DayZ. Rather than directing ire towards the people whose sole job is to enforce the letter of the law, people need to go all the way back to 1995.
The Classification Board were contacted for comment both before and after DayZ was removed from sale, but did not respond by the time of publication.