Monday, August 16, 2010

Labor win might hurt local games industry

Another blow has been dealt to the local development industry, with the Federal Government announcing that it will require mobile phone-based games to be classified should it get re-elected.

According to a report by The Australian, developers of App games (including the iPhone App store) can distribute their games without having to pay the classification fees – which range between $470 and $2040.

But, as I recently discussed with Ron Curry, the CEO of iGEA – a representative body of Australian games publishers, there are a number of digital download publishers that, as a result of the classification process, have ignored Australia completely.

This is especially the case with consoles that have a lower rate of online players – such as the Nintendo DSi and Nintendo Wii, with Australian players having missed a number of releases on both, citing a cost/ benefit analysis that put the classification fee as too expensive.

With classifications for App games in place, the ability for some of the smaller developers to operate even within their own market could well be compromised.

There are enough challenges to doing business in the games industry in Australia already – this classification ‘promise’ is only going to make things even more difficult. It’s a pity that the games industry isn’t large enough to hold a greater political pull.

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