Australians Won’t See Disco Elysium On Steam For Much Longer

Australians Won’t See Disco Elysium On Steam For Much Longer
Image: Disco Elysium
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Disco Elysium was supposed to be launching on consoles next week, but unfortunately that won’t be happening in Australia. And while the refused classification for Final Cut wouldn’t affect people who own the game on Steam, there was always one little problem left over — the fact that Australians could still buy Disco Elysium in the first place.

Update 31/03: Disco Elysium: A Final Cut is out now on Steam, and available for Australians even though it really shouldn’t be. It’s not banned in New Zealand, mind you.

ZA/UM’s award winning cRPG has been available locally largely because of an oversight in how Steam operates in Australia. If you’re selling games physically or on consoles, those games have to receive an Australian classification. That can either be done through the IARC online tool — provided the developers don’t mess up the form — or via a direct submission to the Classification Board.

The Final Cut was getting a physical release here, so it was reviewed, and banned, manually. And that’s a bit of a problem. Because technically, it’s not just refused classification games that can’t be sold in Australia — unrated games aren’t supposed to be sold here, either.

Kotaku Australia contacted the Department of Communications (under which the Classification Board sits) to check how the ban would affect Final Cut‘s release next week in a manner of ways. Australians don’t have to buy the game to access it, and thanks to information revealed in the Classification Board’s report, you can participate in the game just by watching on Twitch:

[Disco Elysium] contains online interactivity in the form of integration with the streaming platform Twitch, which allows stream viewers to vote on what dialogue options the player should choose. The game also contains in-game purchases in the form of the purchase of objects.”

So the question remained: if Final Cut was banned in Australia, would that mean that it would be banned from streaming on Twitch as well, at least as far as Australians were concerned? And what would it mean for the release of Disco Elysium on existing PC platforms, and its potential display on YouTube?

I didn’t receive any answers on the specifics for platforms outside of Australia. But Kotaku Australia understands that Valve has been contacted over the sale of Disco Elysium to Australians. Disco Elysium‘s publisher has also been advised that unclassified and refused classification games can not be sold in Australia — and thanks to the ACCC/Valve verdict, any company that does business to Australians is considered to be doing business in Australia.

In other words: if you’re selling to Australians, you’re doing business in Australia. And in Australia, you can’t sell unrated video games — which includes Disco ElysiumDayZ found itself in a similar situation a couple of years ago after it was refused classification, and after being contacted by the Government over the sale of RC’d games, DayZ was pulled from sale.

At the time of writing, Disco Elysium still appears on Steam for Australian IPs and those accessing the Steam page via Australian accounts. If you haven’t bought the game already, I’d do it very bloody soon. Disco Elysium was well worth your money before all of this began. And given some of its content, I wouldn’t expect The Final Cut to get unbanned until Australia’s classification guidelines are rewritten. And it sure as hell doesn’t seem like the Government will rewrite those guidelines any time soon.

As a reminder: if you already own Disco Elysium on Steam, or through GOG where offline installers are a thing, this shouldn’t affect you. Banned games on Steam before, like DayZ, have remained accessible in users’ libraries.

Comments

  • I played it when it came out, but it’s got too much existential wank for me to bother playing it a second time. It’s decently made, but the writing left me rolling my eyes.

      • It definitely summarises the overall feeling of the game’s writing. XD I can appreciate what it was doing, but I’m too widely read on the whole to really dive into it more than what I did the first time around. Felt like I was studying a degree again and the PTSD that comes with it.

  • Wouldn’t be the first time I’ve bought something to give Australian censors a big arse finger, or the second, but in this case I’m going to wait until the game is 90% off and buy via a VPN or key reseller instead of diving in immediately just so that I can give Valve 30% of my monies.

  • Ugh. This really is a textbook example on what’s wrong with the classification rules.

    Disco Elysium is a thought-provoking, insightful and intelligent work of art that manages to show both biting criticism of and good-humoured compassion for humanity’s frailty and hypocrisy. Anyone who earnestly explores its depths is rewarded with playful and sometimes uncomfortably astute deconstructions of morality and identity. And it does this with a crass and irreverent yet somehow not at all contradictory maturity that surpasses even films or books that critics acclaim for challenging preconceptions, by virtue of its interactivity: Disco Elysium calls for you to make moral or philosophical choices then directly challenges your motivations for making them.

    This is the exact opposite of something that should be banned. Everyone should be exposed to this game or any subsequent game that can do what it does. Even young or developing adults, frankly, as the game is educational in a way that goes well beyond simple transference of facts.

    What a farce.

  • Nah mate, you people got it all wrong…

    As soon as I start playing Disco Elysium, I’m going to feel the urge to drink a few beers, perform a lewd sexual act on a colleague’s desk and be inappropriate with our office admin staff…

    then I’ll have a chat with my local religious leader, blame it all on the evils of modern society, and weep quietly about how I’m really a caring family man who is guided for my love for my wife and daughters and all you people should give me privacy and hassle the women I was inappropriate with instead.

    • All while hoping that the police don’t do something stupid like… investigate and charge you for the crime you publicly confessed to in case it has any ‘unfortunate’ political consequences.

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