The Labor government is putting an end to what they call a ‘loophole’ in the gaming industry that allowed mobile gaming to go largely unregulated. Is that such an issue though, limited or no regulation of an industry can let innovation flourish and in the largest mobile gaming platform in recent years, Apple has accomplished just that.
The app store currently has tens of thousands of games available direct to consumers. Other branches of gaming like PC and console games require classification before being approved for sale. While Apple does their own vetting of applications against their set of rules, the government classification boards don’t get a look in.
Current legislation is unsurprisingly out of date and does not provide specific guidelines for games on mobile devices. If Labors changes get through parliament, mobile application developers may face classification fees of between $470 and $2040. So what does this mean for free applications ? An application developer looking to create a free game may opt for a paid version instead to cover costs, or worse yet, not bother developing it at all, effectively squashing development and innovation. A dangerous move indeed.
So what’s the real motivating factor behind closing the mobile loophole, is it really that regulatory board want to appropriately grade an application to ensure inappropriate material isn’t seen by those that shouldn’t, or does the Government just seen an opportunity to get a cut of the millions being made in mobile.
Right now the biggest company affected by this change would certainly be Apple, but the change would have far reaching affects including Google with it’s Android OS and Microsoft’s upcoming WP7 OS. This “problem” will only grow as the popularity of mobile gaming increases.
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