So EA Australia won’t appeal the Australian Classification Board’s decision to refuse classification to Syndicate, effectively removing its ability to be sold in Australia. And why would they? It’s sacrificing four or five figures worth of sales (at best) in Australia for the greater good of seven figure or higher sales in other countries.
Getting banned in Australia is an easy press release that gets players (particularly North American players) thinking about the game. Nothing is more enticing than a ban on an entertainment product to the young male market, which coincidently is exactly the same market for violent FPSs.
EA Australia can’t resist playing to the home crowd:
“It’s regrettable that government policy in Australia is denying adults the right to play Syndicate. The game will be not be available in Australia despite its enthusiastic response from fans. We were encouraged by the government’s recent agreement to adopt an 18+ age rating for games. However, delays continue to force an arcane censorship on games – cuts that would never be imposed on books or movies. We urge policy makers to take swift action to implement an updated policy that reflects today’s market and gives its millions of adult consumers the right to make their own content choices.”
What enthusiastic response from fans?
And obviously EA Australia remains (wilfully) uninformed that movies and books are refused classification from time to time – Human Centipede 2 was released, banned and then resubmitted with edits and will release to a larger audience thanks to the notoriety of being banned in the first place. EA Australia could probably appeal the ban and get the game released in Australia – the ACB seems to fold quickly enough, or EA could look to tone some things down – but this way is better in attracting attention for the game overseas.
And it worked – the ban is reported on sites like Kotaku, Gamespot and The Escapist (and probably more if I looked). One act in Australia can be worthy a lot of free advertising elsewhere.
I’ve been looking for EA’s actual press release on this and can’t find it, so I’ll have to copy from Gamespot’s article:
“EA Australia has released a statement saying that the company will not be appealing the decision. The software giant went on to say that any changes they made to the game to get it through would compromise the experience.”
“Yes, we can’t compromise on the artistic vision of turning an a classic isometric squad-based game into yet-another grimdark FPS, and in a year when Deus Ex 3 already came out! No-one is allowed to interfere in our Art!”
Puh-leeze. I’ll keep my eye out to see if there is an appeal on Syndicate’s classification filed some time after it releases in the US.