Brought to light by NeoGAF forum member Panajef2001a following a back-and-forth of e-mails with Nintendo of Europe’s customer support, Nintendo has seemingly laid down a rather peculiar restriction for Europe on the Wii U: all 18+ rated content on the eShop is blocked for everyone, with it only being accessible from 11pm – 3am.
So why is this a big problem, who is it damaging, and just how much by?
Leaving only a four hour gap for 18+ rated content — and at reasonably unsociable hours, no less — is nothing short of ridiculous. This block applies to everyone, regardless of your set birthday on your console or parental control settings. Frankly, if someone were worried about a minor accessing mature content on the eShop store, they’re already fully able to set the parental controls up so that they cannot do this, begging the important question of ‘why’?
With other options available for people to protect their precious young ones from catching a flying glimpse of such family-destroying games such as ‘ZombiU’, why have Nintendo of Europe taken such an extreme pre-emptive measure? My current knowledge is that no other region has this strange block implemented. Do Nintendo of Europe regard the the ‘family-friendly’ image of Nintendo’s products more-so than the other regions, or are they just being a little bit paranoid?
After all, it’d be no over-exaggeration to say that this could genuinely be damaging for game sales. Digital versions of 18+ games like ‘ZombiU’ will absolutely garner less sales and digital-only eShop games that hold an 18+ rating will extremely suffer. If Nintendo aim to gain indie developer support with the Wii U, this is not a great turn of events. Although of course only minimally, this will cause damage to Nintendo, they will lose money/third-party/indie support and they will make it more difficult for people to be convinced of the Wii U’s eShop over services like PlayStation’s PSN store and the 360’s XBLA. I’m not a big fan of unnecessary restrictions and censorships regarding games, so it certainly wouldn’t sway me over to the eShop.
Perhaps NOE will recognise that this is a flawed and unnecessary precaution, perhaps not. Heck, this could have even been rolled out as an international policy by the time you read this for all I know and then we’re looking at something really damaging.