Refused classification

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On the 28th of February, 2022, RimWorld was refused classification by the Australian Classification Board. Refused games cannot be sold, hired, advertised or legally imported in Australia. While preexisting owners did not lose access, new sales were banned and there was some loss of services as Steam shut down access to the store page and some community pages for Australian users.

As of the 20 of April, 2022, this decision was reviewed and amended, and RimWorld was unanimously rated R 18+ (i.e. legal adults only, with proof of ID potentially required). This provides an avenue for future sales and hopefully will allow Steam to provide the lost services in the future.

Initial Statement from Ludeon: "Rimworld removed from sale in Australia on Steam,existing owners unaffected"

Hello everyone,

Unfortunately, we've just been informed that RimWorld has just been made unavailable for new purchases by Australian customers on Steam.

This does not seem to affect existing owners - it only prevents new purchases. Anyone who already owns the game is still be able to play, receive updates and access community features like the forums and workshop. The Ideology and Royalty expansions are also not affected.

We don't have a ton of information about this since it just happened within the last few hours, it's Friday evening, and most people we could ask are not at work.

From the info we have, this happened because a few days ago, the Australian Classification Board classified a potential console version of RimWorld as “Refused Classification (RC)”, meaning it can't be sold in Australia.

We did not expect this to affect the Steam version because in previous similar cases, as with Disco Elysium for example, an RC rating on a console version did not affect the availability of the PC version on Steam. We're not sure why this decision was made in RimWorld's case.

I'm sorry this news was so sudden and for anyone who is frustrated by this. We are working to resolve this situation and make RimWorld available to everyone again as soon as possible, but we don’t yet know what that might require or how long it may take.

Thanks for your understanding everyone.

- Ty

Explanation

The Australian Classification Board (ACB), in part, issued this statement, which refers generally to its guidelines but not specifically to the game.

"The computer game is classified RC in accordance with the National Classification Code as computer games that 'depict, express or otherwise deal with matters of sex, drug misuse or addiction, crime, cruelty, violence or revolting or abhorrent phenomena in such a way that they offend against the standards of morality, decency and propriety generally accepted by reasonable adults to the extent that they should not be classified.'" (ref. Eurogamer.net)

According to the ACB website, this category is defined as follows:

"Refused Classification (RC)

" Refused Classification (RC) is a classification category referring to films, computer games and publications that cannot be sold, hired, advertised or legally imported in Australia. RC-classified material contains content that is very high in impact and falls outside generally-accepted community standards." (ref. ACB website)

The ACB has a history of similar conservative reactions to such content, though RimWorld appears notably tame in contrast to the majority of such. This action can be appealed. (ref. Wikipedia)

Review and Classification

In response to an application by the original applicant, a review was performed by the ACB. This resulted in a R 18+ Rating. The reasoning provided was as follows: (classification.gov.au).

"In the Classification Review Board’s opinion RimWorld warrants an R 18+ classification because the themes and drug use have a high impact. The overall impact of the classifiable elements in the game was high. The Review Board also considered the appeal of the game to be skewed to an adult audience."
"The game includes fantasy drug use, but in the Review Board’s opinion, the game mechanic ultimately provides disincentives related to drug-taking behaviour, to the point where regular drug use leads to negative consequences such as overdose, addiction, and withdrawal. Players may choose for colonist pawns to consume drugs in certain scenarios, but this greatly hinders player progress, as characters will succumb to addiction and must deal with long-term negative impacts of their drug use. The drug use is depicted at a distance through a top-down perspective, in a highly stylised, simplified form. The game also contains high impact themes that are justified by the context of colonists surviving in an inhospitable fantasy world."