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Ron Curry, head honcho of the Interactive Entertainment Association of Australia, has vowed to maintain the push for an 18+ rating to be introduced into our classification system. Speaking to Jason Hill over on his Screenplay blog this morning, Curry says the public consultation process for the proposed R rating is a "significant move in the right direction". Also on the agenda for 2009 is an effort to reduce software piracy, including establishing a new website "that will specifically assist consumers to better understand copyright and other IP issues and how it relates to video games".


Recession? We don't appear to know the meaning of the word. The Interactive Entertainment Association of Australia has announced the local industry generated just a smidgeon under $2 billion last year. That's up a remarkable 47% on 2007. So-called "family games" were the biggest growth area, with GfK sales data showing the genre expanded 137% while G-rated games also grew well above the year's average. From all that, I think it's safe to say the Wii had a very good year.


As commenter Duncan raises, I understand there are serious worries that things look TOO good for gamers in the results of the Interactive Australia 2009 Report. But the report's author, Jeffrey Brand, flagged the methodologies at the outset of today's launch and also discussed during the presentation how earlier concerns of bias could now be laid to rest as the trends from past reports (2005 & 2007) to this are very similar and in fact increasingly favourable which would make sense.

That said, I think we will still have to worry about those politicians who decide based on emotional lobby efforts instead of hard statistical evidence. Numbers like these can't help but look "wrong" if you still believe that games are simply toys for kids.

The money quote from Dr. Brand after the initial discussion of the methodology:
"This is big audience research by any measure."

A more detailed run down of the methods, samples and statistical foundations after the jump. Oh, and one more sweet stat... 68% of all respondents identified as playing computer or video games. That's more the two in every three Australians.

UPDATE: Sample and methods details updated to reflect the much more detailed information supplied near the end of the report.


Who's the guy in the tiny picture on the left? It's Tom Crago of course, president of the Game Developers' Association of Australia and CEO of (the rather successful) Tantalus.

The GDAA has been very active of late, its most recent move an alliance with the Interactive Entertainment Association of Australia on the issues of classification and tax consessions.

But that's not all the organisation has been up to, so I threw a few questions Crago's way. He was more than happy to fill in the blanks, and on a few occasions, colour the blanks with green and pink highlighter.


Tax cuts for Australian game developers. It's not a big ask, and certainly a justified one; the industry rakes in around $136 million a year, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics. We know the last federal government had little interest in the idea, and that Labor senator Stephen Conroy, Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, promised a committee on the matter if his party was elected. It was.

It seems the Game Developers Association of Australia and the Interactive Entertainment Association of Australia want to make sure our current government continues to investigate the issue and as such, the two organisations have joined forces.

Said Tom Crago, Tantalus CEO and GDAA president:
"Australian game developers cannot be expected to be internationally competitive when global market conditions are 'not level'. We owe it to the companies themselves to offer these incentives and we also need to make an investment into Australia's 'smart economy'."We know how awesome tax rebates have been for game developers in other countries, so there are no problems as far as logic is concerned. The government just needs to get its act together.

Full release after the jump.


Slowly but surely, the reality of our skewed classification system has been making its way into mainstream media. This story on GTA IV over at The Australian turthers this point.

If there was any game, past, present or future, that shows we're in dire need of an R18+ rating for video games, it's GTA IV. Greg Bondar, Chief Executive of the Game Developers Association of Australia, feels it could be the game that pushes us over the line:
"I think the release of GTAIV is a defining moment; it goes to show how far the games industry has come," Mr Bondar said.

"The ratings system has not kept up." A few statistics pulled from studies by Bond University and the Interactive Entertainment Association of Australia also appear in the article. Here's a sample:
According to the research, 62per cent of people said a games classification had no influence on their buying decision, but it also found there was mass confusion about the differences between M and MA15+ ratings, with 32 per cent believing that MA15+ signified a game was meant only for people 18 or older.32 percent? That's no small number of confused individuals. Wouldn't it be easier if we, like, just had an R18+? Of course it would.

Grand Theft raises R rating prospect