I am writing to ask that you introduce a cheaper classification system for downloadable software in Australia. As a developer of downloadable games for Nintendo Wii (WiiWare) and Nintendo DSi (DSiWare) your current costs ($1150 or $2040 per rating) are very high in comparison with other regions across the world when compared on a population basis (your charges are viewable to the public and available here:
As you can appreciate Australia is a much smaller market than Europe and America however your cost based on population is much much higher. This means that although we are an Australian based developer it is very hard to justify releasing our games in this country. By comparison USA (ESRB) and EU (PEGI) cost less with populations of 300 million and 400 million respectively (actual costs are not available to the public so have been removed). In this light Australia’s $1150 against a population of 21 million makes it 13 to 21 times more expensive on a per head of population basis while the $2040 charge is 26 to 42 times more expensive.
This means from a small developers perspective that the risk of return in Australia is approaching a prohibitively high amount. Big retail games which come on disc and cost $80 – $120 do not really suffer the same issues as they cost, on average, well over $1 million so an extra $1,000 or $2,000 is not as significant. Most WiiWare and DSiWare titles will cost about $100,000 or even less. As you can see the cost of getting a downloadable game rated in Australia adds at least 1-2% of the development cost to the game.
By having costs as you currently do you are restricting the market of great software to Australians in comparison to that which is already available in other territories. This as you can appreciate creates a barrier to free trade and reduces consumer choice. I would like to suggest that you consider introducing a cheaper classification process for cheaper/smaller downloadable games in the same way as the ESRB and PEGI have done. This will allow small developers to continue to create and sell their software to all the great Australian WiiWare and DSiWare fans.