Windows 8 won’t offer adult games

Windows 8 won’t offer adult games

Windows 8 app developer guidelines forbid any content that falls under a “Mature” or PEGI 18 rating.

Microsoft has revealed that the Windows 8 Marketplace will not sell adult games. According to section 6.2 of the company’s Windows App guidelines,

Apps with a rating over PEGI 16, ESRB MATURE, or a corresponding rating under other ratings systems… are not allowed.

This isn’t necessarily a problem for US gamers, where only a handful of games have ever been rated “Mature”, including the notorious Manhunt 2 and Grand Theft Auto San Andreas.

Flawed System

For European users, however, the story is quite different. Ratings are stricter and assigned by age. Therefore, what is “Mature” in the States is an 18 rating in the UK – a rating that is now banned in the Windows 8 marketplace. In fact any game aimed at players older than 16 won’t be allowed.

What this means is that US users will have access to content through the marketplace that is apparently deemed unsuitable for (more impressionable?) European users.

It also means that some of the biggest games around right now won’t be able to capitalize on their popularity in the European Windows 8 Marketplace. Based on current age ratings, these include some of the most popular games released during the past few years, such as The Walking Dead, Max Payne 3, Deus Ex, Assasin’s Creed: Revelations and The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.

Users will still be able to purchase the games through other outlets, such as Steam, however until the developers remove the adult content, they won’t be available through the Windows 8 marketplace, or have access to Windows 8’s more advanced functionality.

Adult Issues

The debate around adult content in apps rears its head periodically. Apple famously removed thousands of apps from the iOS store in 2010 after users complained they contained adult content.

Speaking at the time, senior Vice-President of worldwide product marketing Philip Schiller said to the NY Times: “It came to the point where we were getting customer complaints from women who found the content getting too degrading and objectionable, as well as parents who were upset with what their kids were able to see.”

While responding to user complaints seems fair enough (Apple now place age restrictions on certain apps, asking users to confirm they are old enough to view the content), Microsoft have gone one step further and simply banned potentially risque or controversial content altogether.

How much this affects users’ experience of the new Windows OS remains to be seen – after all, die-hard Steam fans are likely to have visited the store to purchase games anyway. Perhaps users will be too busy coming to terms with the lack of a Start button and the tiled menu to notice.