An amendment to the Classification Act has been passed in parliament that will make it easier for certain gaming titles to be classified.
The amendment -- laboriously titled the 'Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Amendment (Classification Tools and Other Measures) Bill 2014' -- will "enable certain content (including online and mobile device content) to be classified using classification tools".
Essentially this will allow games to be classified via an as-yet-undefined automated tool. The amendment seems particularly targeted at games being distributed via mobile app stores.
The volume of titles coming through app marketplaces dwarfs anything previously encountered by the Classification Board. Ron Curry, CEO of the Interactive Games and Entertainment Association, gave testimony at Parliament regarding the amendment earlier in the year:
"According to the Australian Classification Board's database there have been approximately 14,000 decisions made for computer games since 1994. However, last year alone, there were 75,000 games submitted to the Apple Store. In other words, in one year alone, the Apple Store has produced five times as many games as the Classification Board has classified in 20 years. If we look at the average time it takes to classify a game, we would assume it would take the board around another 100 years to classify last year's releases from the Apple Store."
Speaking to CNET, Curry said that the IGEA welcomed the changes, but that more work was required.
"These are only the first stage of classification reforms, so there is still a lot of work to be done to have a classification regime that is relevant for today and the future. IGEA will continue to push for reforms put forward by the ALRC which will require further deregulation and the establishment of a new, national, industry-led classification scheme."