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No Adult Games on Windows 8 Marketplace

A post on Critical Detail takes a critical look at the closed distribution model in Windows 8 and Windows RT, speculating about how this will impact software distribution over the next 20 years. As noted on Kotaku, this includes a rule against selling adult content through the Windows 8 Marketplace, saying: "Your app must not contain adult content, and metadata must be appropriate for everyone. Apps with a rating over PEGI 16, ESRB MATURE, or that contain content that would warrant such a rating, are not allowed." While this will not impact U.S. users much since almost no games are ever rated "AO," there are lots of games with a PEGI-18 rating in Europe this will prohibit. There are a number of reasons this will not impact hardcore gamers in the short term, as they are unlikely to be rushing to adopt the new Windows, unlikely to make a tablet their primary gaming machine, and unlikely to make the Microsoft walled garden the place they buy their games, but the trend this represents is certainly troubling. Update: Corrected to be clear the rule will prohibit AO games in North America, not "M" rated games. Apologies for the confusion.

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23. Re: No Adult Games on Windows 8 Marketplace Oct 11, 2012, 13:32 jacobvandy
 
Blue made a mistake in his paraphrasing... TONS of games are rated 'M,' but very few are ever rated higher than that, i.e. AO - Adults Only. And for reasons exactly like the ones discussed here; America is full of a bunch of politically-correct, immature babies. Because of policies held by distributors and retailers, publishers are virtually forced to make sure they don't get higher than a Mature rating, or else suffer vastly reduced exposure in the marketplace.

Aside from the obvious pornographic games out there, I can only think of a couple off the top of my head. The original version of GTA:SA was re-branded AO, before they had a voluntary recall and re-issued later copies with the Hot Coffee patch built-in. They actually sent out little ESRB stickers for retailers to put on the boxes if they didn't want to send them back. (I pre-ordered a special edition of that game, wondering if that original M-rated disc in a hardback "Traveler's Guide to San Andreas" would be worth something now...) Rockstar also had either Manhunt or Manhunt 2 that was rated AO from the start, so I'm not surprised they never made any more of those, since the culture has only become more disapproving and restrictive of such things in recent years.

I have a very strong suspicion that Gearbox had to tone down the violence in Borderlands 2 compared to the first game (no exploding noggins from head shots, no reducing enemies to skeletons when they're electrocuted, bodies and rare gibs from explosions disappear very quickly, etc.) because they were facing an AO rating. It's basically a death sentence for any mainstream title, which is a crock of shit.

This comment was edited on Oct 11, 2012, 13:48.
 
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