Nnooo: Australian Ratings System Prevents Indies From Releasing Games Down Under
Posted by Andy Green
The studio calls for a self-rated, no-fee model
Australian Wii U owners are often frustrated when they do not receive games other Western nations do. Despite being a PAL region, games don't always make it Down Under as we've seen very recently with the news that Fast & Furious: Showdown will be not be made available.
That game is published by Activision, which has decided against releasing three other Wii U titles in Australia - 007 Legends, The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct and The Amazing Spider-Man Ultimate Edition.
It's a similar situation for downloadable games too. Mighty Switch Force: Hyper Drive Edition for example was a launch title when the Wii U was released - but not in Australia where the game is still unavailable.
In an interview with Vooks, Bruce Thomson, Business and Marketing Director at Australian developer Nnooo - the studio behind titles such as escapeVektor and Spirit Hunters Inc - said a lot of the problems stem from the expensive ratings system Down Under.
We can sell a game in the Americas (with a population of about 1 billion) for no ratings fees, in Europe (with a population of over 700 million) for 500 Euros per platform and in Australia (23 million) for AUS$430, considering that only 2 percent of our revenue comes from Australian sales you can see how ridiculous this is.
It's definitely plausible that many games companies decide against releasing in Australia after seeing the high price and weighing up the value of it. This doesn't particularly do the industry any good and it certainly doesn't help your average Australian gamer.
Nnooo believes changes need to be put in place, primarily to help the indie developers release content in the country:
Changing the current classification system in Australia to a self-rated, no-fee model like the one operated by the ESRB would be a big help for small devs like us where every dollar counts.
The current Australian ratings system increases the cost of making games for the Australian market and prevents many small developers from releasing their titles here.
What do you think of this, Australia? Do you think the Austalian ratings board is stopping games from making it over, or is there another reason? Let us know in the comments section below.