Last week, we reported on the eSafety Commissioner’s unusual age rating for the latest deceptive party hit, Among Us. The game was originally listed as an 18+ title by the government body, but that advisory has since been removed — and for good reason.
Things seemed a little bizarre late last week when I reported on the eSafety Commissioner’s public advisory, which is designed to help inform parents about apps they or their children might encounter.
It’s a good idea in principle, but a bit of information had been lost in translation. For one, why was Among Us an 18+ game when Apple and Google were listing it for 9 and 10-year-olds?
After reporting on the listing, the eSafety Commissioner got in touch with me and explained that the 18+ rating wasn’t their suggestion but one that came from the official terms of service. That page, which was also linked to on the eSafety Commissioner’s original listing, notes the following:
You must be at least 18 years of age in order to enter into this EULA for the licensing of the Site and Software. As a condition of your using our Site and Software, you represent that you are at least 18 years old.
OK, fair enough.
There’s just one small problem. At the very bottom of the website, buried underneath a large “DOWNLOAD NOW” and pop-up notifications for how many users have just downloaded Among Us, is the following line:
Among Us is a Among Us unofficial fansite to the game Among Us for PC. All credits belong to the respective developers.
Oh … oh no.
Rather than linking to the developer’s actual Among Us page, the official listing on itch.io, or the game’s link on an approved platform like Steam, the eSafety Commissioner linked out to a site run by a platform called Games.lol. (You can see this linked in the original eSafety Commissioner post via Google Cache.)
The proper links for the Android and iOS stores were included — or at least the American iOS link — but the official “Website” link went not to the actual official page, but a site advertising free downloads for PC, Mac and Android:
The website constantly fires off a string of pop-up notifications to chat with “Games.lol” over Facebook Messenger, and the official Facebook page link goes to a dead site called “UnblockedGamesLoL”.
When the eSafety Commissioner got in touch with me last week, I asked a representative why the department was sending parents to a website hosting a potentially compromised version of a game instead of linking to the official developer webpage, or authorised storefronts like Steam or itch.io. I also pointed out that the terms of service was for a company unrelated to InnerSloth, a company that has no official relationship with the developers.
The eSafety Commissioner didn’t reply to my questions, but they did say they would update their website. At the time of writing, there’s no update besides the Among Us page being down.
You have to wonder, though. How many parents ended up downloading files from a dodgy fansite instead of paying for Among Us on PC?