OK OK, cries of victory may be a bit premature. But, considering the history of video game censorship in Australia, the very fact that a R-18 + rating is being considered by the Attorney-Generals is revolutionary. Personally, I would have never thought that this would happen so soon. I thought that the new federal government would stay the same course as the Howard government out of fear of losing the paranoid parent vote. But, I guess, with the fairly complete victory last year and the large grace period that this victory has allowed, the Rudd government is going ahead with a move that would be considered by many older political commentators to be a vote loser.
Of course, the next election is a long time away and I'm sure that this change, if made, would be forgotten by the paranoid parents by then.
From the reports that I have read it seems that New South Wales and Queensland are for the R-18+ rating, while South Australia (who quotes some common misconceptions about gamers to support his decision) is against it. I'm not sure how the decision will be made, but if it is to be a majority vote among the Attorney-Generals we might get over the line.
Viva la quiet change made by state and federal attorney-generals!
Well, it seems that EB Games Australia wide have decided to jump the gun. They are releasing Mass Effect today, a week early. I went in this morning to pick up a copy for a friend of mine (I do not have a 360, he does) after receiving an email from the EB Games mailing list.
People with pre-orders should have received a call this morning, when the trucks rolled in.
Now, I'm not one for far flung theories, but could this be because of the delay of Assassin's Creed in Australia and NZ. As most Australian gamers sadly know, AC has been delayed a week in this country because of some kind of issue. It's not too hard to believe that EB, expecting to make a pretty buck this week from the release of one big game, decided to release another big game to make up for the loss.
This probably is also to eliminate the extreme rush that they would have had next week, when AC and Mass Effect were to be released on the same day.
Update (Finally figured out how to edit):
Here is Bioware's response to the EB Games's announcement:
"They are wrong. (About the early release date)
We have spoken to Microsoft Australia and they have spoken with EA Australia's head office. NO copy of Mass Effect will be sold before it's Nov 22 launch date. Sorry."
Sorry to make a liar out of you, Bioware. Seems like people all over the country are doing the same thing.