Wii U mature content restrictions: Nintendo explains issue

Monday, 10th December 2012 10:29 GMT By Dave Cook

Last week, Wii U was found to be blocking the sale of 18-rated content to children on Nintendo’s eShop between 11pm and 3am. Nintendo has now stepped forward to clarify the issue, which is says is related to Germany’s hard stance on mature game content.

Eurogamer reports that it was unable to buy ZombiU and Assassin’s Creed 3 before 11pm due to the restrictions, which Nintendo has now clarified today in a statement to the site. The company said it is bound by German law on the matter, because Nintendo of Europe is based there – Frankfurt to be precise.

The statement reads, “At Nintendo we always aim to provide a safe gaming experience for fans of all ages and ensure that we comply with applicable legal age restriction requirements across Europe,”

“Legal age restriction requirements vary across a number of European countries. Since Nintendo of Europe is based in Germany, Nintendo eShop is complying with German youth protection regulation which therefore applies to all our European markets. Under German law, content rated 18+ must be made available only at night.

“Therefore the accessibility of 18+ content in Nintendo eShop is limited to [USK: 22:00 UTC until 4:00 UTC] [PEGI: 23:00 UTC until 3:00 UTC].”

USK is the German regulatory standard for mature gaming content, while PEGI applies to the UK, meaning anyone on these shores must wait until 11pm before buying mature content digitally.

What’s your take on the matter. It’s an odd one that’s for sure.



  1. Razor

    In other news, Nintendo will shortly be moving their EU headquarters somewhere else.

    #1 2 years ago
  2. monkeygourmet

    In the days of the Internet and e commerce, this is crazy….

    A companies headquarters shouldn’t dictate their overseas policy.

    I’m glad their headquarters isn’t in Korea!

    #2 2 years ago
  3. Fin

    in b4 NDF

    #3 2 years ago
  4. monkeygourmet


    How very grown up of you.

    #4 2 years ago
  5. CyberMarco

    And why this isn’t happening on XBL or PSN? Are their HQs in another country?

    #5 2 years ago
  6. Fin


    Not really bro, “in b4 NDF” isn’t grown up at all.

    #6 2 years ago
  7. monkeygourmet


    Must be…

    It’s still crazy though, Germany’s laws are funny.

    Bit of videogame violence : No Way!!!

    Super hardcore porn : No worries!!!

    #7 2 years ago
  8. absolutezero

    Well to be fair thats exactly as it should be.

    #8 2 years ago
  9. Nakorson

    It’s silly of Nintendo to make this, the Wii U has already child protection options which are password protected. And the user could one time verify the age to unlock the account.

    What’s your problem with super hardcore porn?
    The one bit of videogame violence being a problem in germany is no longer true, for a while now…

    #9 2 years ago
  10. monkeygourmet


    Lol, that’s true enough! :)

    #10 2 years ago
  11. monkeygourmet


    So what’s the deal here then?

    Also why was the Dead Island dev talking about Germany and censorship the other day?

    Didn’t the Left 4 Dead box have to be changed too?

    #11 2 years ago
  12. DrDamn

    So hold on – because of a German law which shouldn’t apply here we have restrictions in the UK even more severe than the German ones? How does that work? (In Germany it’s 10pm->4am, in the UK 11pm->3am).

    #12 2 years ago
  13. polygem

    germany has indeed very strange regulations. hypocrites. but what can you do? i personally don´t care much about this. it´s not an issue for me, but then, i am german, i am used to that shit. i order most of my games from uk because i want them uncut…it´s strange that having the office in germany while selling stuff worldwide still bounds them to the german and not international or at least european laws…

    @Fin: seriously. i am thinking about adding something like: “ignoring: fin, clupula, geki, dragon” to every single comment i am posting from now on and then just really do that.

    #13 2 years ago
  14. Bomba Luigi

    I Live in Switzerland. No Germany, not even EU. German Rights my Ass.

    And why in the World is this not a Problem on Xbox Live oder PSN? Not even in Germany.

    #14 2 years ago
  15. polygem

    “I Live in Switzerland. No Germany, not even EU. German Rights my Ass.”

    LOL, i hear you man!

    #15 2 years ago
  16. monkeygourmet

    It’s like Germany shipping BMWs or Mercedes cars to other countries and refusing to change which way they drive on. :)

    #16 2 years ago
  17. polygem

    @16: good point :)

    #17 2 years ago
  18. Nakorson

    I really wouldn’t describe Dead Island as minor violence

    A lot of Devs change their product more than they would have to for the german market, probably because they fear that it could get a too High USK rating.

    #18 2 years ago
  19. monkeygourmet


    Well it’s fantasy violence. Zombies not being real and all.

    I’d say there was quite a bit of difference between hacking a zombies head off in a game to something like saw which is basically torture porn.

    #19 2 years ago
  20. Freek

    What they mean to say is: we are unable to properly run an online store so we just took the easy way out and only made one content policy acorss the whole store rather then make it variable for each country.

    #20 2 years ago
  21. monkeygourmet


    Yeah because people never create different accounts on PSN or XBLA to access different content?

    #21 2 years ago
  22. Freek

    Wich is against the user agreement of Sony and MS and if they catch you your account can be reset or worse deactivated.
    And since they are still doing buiseness in Germany and the rest of Europe, this is a fine way to be both legal and not screw over your customers.

    #22 2 years ago
  23. Clupula

    @13 – Did somebody call my name?

    #23 2 years ago
  24. Cobra951

    Sounds like a crock of shit to me. I doubt very seriously that Nintendo are bound by German law when distributing content to any other country, regardless of where their European headquarters might be. And as others have noticed, Microsoft and Sony don’t have this issue. (Do they? Anyone know an Xbox or PS3 owner in Germany who can weigh in on it?) This is the first time I’ve ever heard of something so asinine. Sorry, it just doesn’t wash. I think someone at Nintendo needs to grow a pair, just to catch up to their competition.

    #24 2 years ago
  25. monkeygourmet


    Game content gets changed / banned?

    Are Sony / MS HQ’s based in Germany? I’m to sure, still a weird situation though, doesn’t make much sense.

    It’s not the end of the world though. Who the fuck pays twice the price to download e-shop games anyway…

    It makes me laugh, people bitch and moan about the price of eshop games, then, when restrictions are put in, everyone goes mad as if they really wanted to download these games?! Lol :)

    #25 2 years ago
  26. ManuOtaku

    I dont think nintendo is bound by german law to distribute their content to foreign countries under their rulings, although it will be good to know if his applies or not here, just like sony and microsoft arent as well. But i do believe Nintendo will be the only one to be called for doing it, because of their family image, so i think even if they are not bound legally, it will be something that will affect them one way or the other, i think they are being over protective, but nintendo has always be like this, and rightfully so; this goes in line with the no publishing the binding of issac game, they know rather well some parents organizations out there will call them out for having the option, bad if you do, bad if you dont do, this is the things for nintendo having a friendly familiy image.

    #26 2 years ago
  27. OlderGamer

    I don’t think they are bound by German law, just influenced by German culture. Liek I said in the first 18+ thread the other day.

    #27 2 years ago
  28. Phoenixblight

    Nintendo is just doing a 1 rule to generalize across the entire board to avoid issues. Its laziness at its finest.

    #28 2 years ago
  29. monkeygourmet


    Then why let people access the Miiverse posts with screenshots of Zombies having their faces smashed in with cricket bats?

    #29 2 years ago
  30. Phoenixblight

    I am talking about this mature content locking nothing about posts. They are based in German and because of that they are making a rule or block for the entire EU just because they don’t want to look into making German the exception like the rest of the industry.

    #30 2 years ago
  31. Ireland Michael

    Could have sworn that 1) laws only apply to where your servers are located, and 2) online laws dictated in one country can not be enforced on users in another.

    This sort of move is going to kill third party support. Who is going to release a title on a piece of hardware that people can only gain access to buy at ridiculous hours?

    #31 2 years ago
  32. monkeygourmet


    it’s almost certainly being reviewed, especially with companies like Ubisoft having European offices and probably losing out on a few sales.

    Unfortunatly, it’s not the case of ‘flicking a switch’ to sort it…

    #32 2 years ago
  33. monkeygourmet


    Exactly, it can’t continue like this, especially for indie or downloadable titles with mature content.

    They might as well not bother releasing on the platform.

    Full games aren’t so bad, you get a physical copy for cheaper, still an odd choice though.

    #33 2 years ago
  34. TheDarkWeapon

    @5 Hardcore pr0nz is (should be) for adult-only audiences… The WiiU is for kids and grown-ups. Of course they will be worried about what the children will see… American countries should do that more often.

    #34 2 years ago
  35. Phoenixblight


    Thats the parents’ job. Its not the job of a company or government to dictate how kids should be raised or what they should see or not see If that was the case people would just have kids and dump them at a facility to brainwash them so they are “raised” correctly.

    #35 2 years ago
  36. Nakorson


    AFAIK the USK has big problems with unnecessary violence against human like characters. I haven’t played Dead Island but from the videos i’ve seen they look very human like.

    #36 2 years ago
  37. sh4dow

    And anybody living in or near Germany (or who is interested in gaming news in a very extraordinary manner) knows how well their hardline stance on these issues has worked…

    #37 2 years ago
  38. absolutezero

    Its alright just now when theres nothing really available on the eShop but what happens if someone wants to release a game like Limbo? Or Deadlight?

    2300 lel.

    #38 2 years ago

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