The Australian has reported that an inquiry into the future communications landscape is suggesting regulation of digital content in Australia.
The independent Convergence Review is analysing film, television and radio policy as compared with new media including Facebook, YouTube etc, and by extension is covering downloadable apps, both on mobile phones and in your browser.
The Australian government currently mandates that a certain percentage of broadcast media be Australian-made. The concern according to the report is that "commercial broadcasters may argue for a weakening of Australian content requirements on television because their non-broadcast competitors are free of such impositions."
While the aim of any changes would be to ensure that Australian culture is being represented adequately across all media consumed (including videogames), the regulation itself would cost developers money (as with the current Australian Classification Board requirements) and make the release of smaller apps and games financially non-viable in the region.
New Zealand's classification scheme is currently undergoing a potential change to force all distributors to submit their games for classification even if they're aimed at a G or PG audience. This may prevent the release of an unknown number of games from distributors who would rather not pay the fee for titles unlikely to sell high numbers.
While the nature of any new Australian regulations remains unknown at this time, the prospect of a regulatory body attempting the task of monitoring any form of browser-based or mobile phone app market makes it harder for independent videogame makers to release their titles in the Australian market, and may end up backfiring and reducing rather than broadening Australian media content.
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