Computer commentators have suggested that Microsoft is introducing children only age restrictions on its
Windows 8 marketplace for apps. And games commentators asked whether this would affect video games too.
A Microsoft representative then confirmed to Kotaku that, yes, section 6.2 of the Windows App guidelines applies to video games as well. That section reads:
...apps with a rating over or PEGI 16, ESRB MATURE, or a corresponding rating under other ratings systems ...are not allowed.
For the United States, that's not exactly an issue. Not many major video games ever receive a rating beyond Mature. But for other markets, it's a bit of a disaster. Europe especially. PEGI 18 games that would be banned are:
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim The Witcher II Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 Max Payne 3 The Walking Dead Sleeping Dogs Dishonored Mass Effect 2 Mass Effect 3 LA Noire Spec Ops: The Line Fallout: New Vegas Deus Ex Assassin's Creed: Revelations
So nearly all of the biggest and best games released in the past three years then.
Note that Microsoft are not preventing these games from running on Windows 8, it is just that they themselves will not be selling them.
Update: Call of Duty (to Shareholders)
27th October 2012. See
Assassin's Creed , Mass Effect , Skyrim and other adult games will no longer be banned from the European Windows 8 Store.
Microsoft has relaxed its restrictions so the titles will be tested to work on PCs and tablets running Windows 8.
In the US games such as Call of Duty , Skyrim and Mass Effect typically win a mature rating under its ESRB system. This means anyone aged 17 and over can play them. This '17' certificate deliberately ia designed to work
around informal US censorship whereby shop owners and malls etc implement a nominal adults only ban to somehow maintain that they are 'family friendly'. Of course a 17 certificate can get mighty close to a more intuitive 18 certificate used by the
rest of the world. In practice US 17 certificates generally outlaw 18 rated sex but allow 18 rated violence.
Before now Microsoft operated a blanket ban on adult-only content on its Windows 8 Store.
It basically ends up disqualifying games that would be ESRB Mature, Antoine Leblond, Microsoft corporate vice president of web services told tech news site Gizmodo.
The Windows 8 testing and certification system has won criticism from many games makers. Markus Persson, creator of Minecraft, said it risked turning the PC into a closed platform. Gabe Newell, head of game maker Valve, said Windows 8 could be a catastrophe
for it and other developers.
However, the ban could have caused bigger problems with the very restrictive Windows RT. This is the version of Windows 8 meant for tablets and the only way to get software for it is via the store. This is to supposedly ensure the programs work well with
touchscreen interfaces typically found on tablets, but in reality it allows the platform makers to extract massive fees of up to 30% of the customer price.
The change is due to come into force by the end of 2012, Leblond told Gizmodo.