The ongoing saga as to whether or not Australia will permit the full version of Left 4 Dead 2 in all its zombie-mowing-down glory (see here and here for previous instalments) appears finally to be come to an end.
Gamesindustry.biz reports that the Australian Classification Review Board has turned down publisher EA’s appeal against a previous decision of the Classification Board that L4D2 could not be given a 15+ rating, being the highest rating that Australia has. In effect, if a game does not meet the criteria of a ’15’ game, it cannot be admitted into Australia. So, Valve will instead have to sell a toned-down version of the game in Oz, which version does not contain “depictions of decapitation, dismemberment, wound detail or piles of dead bodies lying about the environment”. So that’s alright then.
As we’ve previously noted on this blog, this seems a clear case of the law simply not being up to date and certainly not up to speed with modern gaming. The practical consequences of this decision are likely to be: (i) consumer dissatisfication; (ii) relatively lower revenues for Valve; (iii) massive piracy of the full version of the game; and (iv) to a lesser extent, legally dubious parallel imports of the full version of the game into Oz. None of which stands exactly to the credit of the local of federal governments of Australia.
[Image source: Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Left_4_dead_2.jpg]