Posts Tagged ‘ratings’

Help us get cheaper ratings in Australia

Monday, May 3rd, 2010

The Australian ratings board is currently looking for feedback and comments regarding their proposed changes to the pricing of ratings for books, games and films. As a small, independent, Australian games company we feel that there needs to be a new cheaper option for those of us making small budget, cheaper downloadable games.

If you feel the same way we encourage you to email the Australians rating board at: with your opinion. (more…)

An interview with ARN: Nic Watt on Nintendo, R18+ classifications and gaming software

Thursday, December 17th, 2009

Yesterday I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Matthew Sainsbury for ARN website. Below is the full interview which you can also read on their site.

Nic Watt, founder and creative director of games and application software developer, Nnooo, is on the cutting edge of the industry. The Independent Software Developer’s sales model is entirely around digital downloads for the iPhone, Nintendo Wii and DS. He speaks to MATTHEW SAINSBURY about the future of digital distribution and the broader gaming software industry.

Can you give me an overview of Nnooo and your background?

I’ve been in the industry for about 10 years now. I was working at Electronic Arts in London, and my partner got offered the chance to come to Australia, so we made the decision to move out here. It was at that point I sold some property I had in the UK, and decided to make the jump to running my own small games company.

It was around about the time that the small downloadable titles were starting to come to market. Microsoft had just launched Xbox Live Arcade, and I thought the future of these small downloadable games was quite exciting. Particularly from a small company point of view, it was something we could achieve.

What are the advantages of downloadable titles over a full retail release?

For us, the one thing I wanted to do was to make the games I wanted to make. When you work with a really big company, such as EA, that becomes very difficult, because you’ve got to go through so many different stages and there’s so many approval mechanisms. Quite often, the people higher up in the company have their own vision for the kinds of games they want to have made.

Also, the hard part of making a full retail game is it costs a lot of money – when you start up a new company, it’s very difficult industry for people to give you $5, $10 or $20 million to make a videogame unless you’ve done something like make a Halo or World or Warcraft in the past. (more…)

An Open letter about video game ratings in Australia from the CEO of an Australian games company

Tuesday, December 15th, 2009

Dear Mr Atkinson,

I am writing to express my thoughts on the current situation of video game ratings in Australia. As the CEO and Creative Director of an Australia based video games company (currently situated in Sydney) I am somewhat saddened by the fact that Australia does not allow adults to purchase games which are available elsewhere in the world at a rating suitable for adult content. IE an R 18+ or similar rating.

It appears, to me, to be somewhat contradictory to allow both Television and Film to be rated against a wider range of ratings than Video Games are. As far as I am aware only people over the age of 18 are allowed to purchase R 18+ films and television products (DVD, Blue Ray etc) so why can this not be the same for games? We have a very robust video games retail service in Australia who already currently use the rating system to sell games to a wide range of people based on their age. Furthermore everyone in Australia is already familiar with this ratings system so providing a new R 18+ rating for games would not result in children or people under the age of 18 obtaining said products unless an adult purchased it for them (as adults can do currently with both Film and TV products). (more…)

An open letter to the OFLC (Australian Ratings Board)

Wednesday, March 25th, 2009

Dear sir/madam,

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.


Nic Watt