Despite being officially refused classification in Australia, Disco Elysium – A Final Cut is still readily available for purchase via Steam, with Aussies being able to buy it as recently as this morning.
The latest update in the popular RPG was refused classification by the Australian Classification Board because, apparently, splitting a bag of virtual cocaine with some kids is not okay in the eyes of the government.
But despite being officially refused classification, you can still purchase Disco Elysium – A Final Cut as easily The Sims 4. The Final Cut has replaced the original version of Disco Elysium, so it’s the only version of the game available right now (and GOG are still selling it to Aussies as well).
A Classifications Board spokesperson confirmed to Kotaku Australia that the department “has been in contact with the publisher of Disco Elysium (unclassified) and Disco Elysium: The Final Cut (refused classification) to advise that an unclassified or Refused Classification game cannot be sold in Australia.”
Additionally, the board confirmed that it has been in contact with Steam directly to advise them of the issue relating to Disco Elysium‘s sale.
However, the board also clarified that it does not have the power to actually enforce anything in this situation.
“The Classification Board does not have enforcement powers in relation to an unclassified or Refused Classification computer game being made available online to Australians,” a spokesperson for the Classification Board told Kotaku Australia.
Despite following up with the Classification Board, Communications Minister Paul Fletcher and any other relevant government department I could contact, nobody was able to give me a clear answer as to what the heck happens from here. Or if it’s something they’ll even bother pursuing.
When it comes to physical media (e.g buying a game from your local JB Hi-Fi), classification violations are managed by state police. However, this gets a little difficult when we’re talking about the online sale of video games from a company based in Seattle.
Penalties vary from state to state and can range up to a $15,000 fine for an individual, but considering Valve (Steam’s owner and operator) is based in the US, there’s no clear indication as to how these penalties would impact them.
The fact that the Classification Board acknowledged they were aware of the breach, but nobody could give me a solid answer as to how – if at all – Steam would be held liable, seems like a clear indication that these laws are outdated at best. And if the government is so worried about gamers doing virtual lines, you would think they’d be able to give me a solid answer as to how Steam could be penalised.
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