[Updated] Target Australia Employs Plain Packaging For Games

Published: March 7, 2016 9:18 AM /


Target Logo


Kotaku Australia also reported on this story and some correspondence with Target Australia and the specific shop in question. According to Target Australia, the photo is not company standard and the individual store took action to set that up, when the legal requirements in South Australia require either plain packaging or an 18+ display area. 
What has occurred here dates back to 2010 when Southern Australia banned the promotion of R18+ Films and computer games were updated to be included in that when the national law on R18+ game classification and South Australia removed the MA15+ rating. Additionally, they can't be exhibited for promotional purposes in either posters or trailers. The way most stores comply with this for games or film is by having an R18+ stand set aside but the other possible application is the plain packaging with just the game name in small print and the rating. Combining both isn't required, even under the strictest reading of the Southern Australia laws. 
We apologize for not getting this story right when we first released it, so we hope this clears it up a bit! The original story is below, including the error about there being no government regulation impacting it.

Remember a few years back when a lot of countries decided that the perfect way to dissuade people from smoking was to remove the colorful designs from the cartons and replace them with white, neutral packaging? Australia was the first country to implement them on a wide scale, and now a different chain of shops in Australia is doing the same thing . . . with video games.

The shop in question is Target Australia, the chain of shops who previously pulled copies of Grand Theft Auto V from shelves after a social media campaign. This same campaign also drove Kmart Australia to also ban Rockstar's crime game from their stores. If you want to see what plain packaging for video games looks like, feast your eyes on the following picture posted by neoGAF user nephilimdj

Plain Packaging


What's interesting about this is that Target Australia made the choice to switch to plain packaging for 18+ rated games at their own volition, without government interference. These same games can be seen with their original covers in other game stores on the continent. The fact that shops aren't allowed to sell 18+ games to minors anyway makes you wonder who the plain packaging is for; for the kids so they know which games are off limits, or for the store employees so they think twice before selling a copy of Dying Light or Call of Duty to the 13 year old in front of them. 

Australia is a strange country where video games are concerned. Apart from the aforementioned banning of Grand Theft Auto V from Target's shelves, the country itself is very quick to ban any and all games their government deems unfit for classification. Previously games like ManhuntPostal 1 and Postal 2 and Hotline Miami 2 were banned from sale in brick and mortar stores, with some of them only available via the Steam Store. 

Quick Take

I don't see why this is necessary. Target's employees should be the gatekeepers here that keep underage kids from getting the games not rated for their age group. 

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