You Won’t Be Able To Buy Adult Games On Windows 8’s Marketplace

You Won’t Be Able To Buy Adult Games On Windows 8’s Marketplace

Casey Muratori wrote a great piece yesterday speaking out against Microsoft’s Windows 8 for all kinds of reasons, but one point that struck me was his suggestion that, because there are age restrictions on the operating system’s official “apps” (the giant fancy buttons that lie at the heart of Win 8’s start screen), this would affect adult video games.

Surely not, I thought. Microsoft wouldn’t be that stupid. That must be a rule for regular apps, and games will be just fine.

Turns out they won’t be. A Microsoft representative confirmed with Kotaku today 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”, the only notable exceptions being the PC version of Manhunt 2, the Director’s Cut of Indigo Prophecy and, during the “Hot Coffee” scandal, Grand Theft Auto San Andreas.

But for other markets, it’s a bit of a disaster. Europe especially. Here are some games that have, only recently, been awarded Europe’s PEGI 18 rating, which under Microsoft’s rules would mean they’d be excluded from the Windows 8 marketplace.

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

The Witcher II

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3

Max Payne 3

The Walking Dead

Sleeping Dogs


Mass Effect 2

Mass Effect 3

LA Noire

Spec Ops: The Line

Fallout: New Vegas

Deus Ex

Assassin’s Creed: Revelations

So, yeah, nearly all of the biggest and best games released in the past three years. Good thinking there, Microsoft.

Of course, this doesn’t ban the games from the operating system entirely. You can still install them and boot them up like you do now. It just means that, unless the publishers could be bothered cutting all adult content from their games, they won’t be available from Microsoft’s own store, and because of that won’t be able to access a lot of Windows 8’s fancier functionality (or be integrated with Win 8’s start screen “widgets”).

I’m trying to think of a reason for this beyond Microsoft’s US staff simply not thinking through the ramifications this would have on European publishers and gamers, really trying, but I just can’t find one.

If you haven’t yet read Muratori’s piece, you really should, as it goes on to explain why this “bifurcating” of the operating system could wind up a complete disaster for Windows 8 and Microsoft itself.

Of course, he’s not alone in his overall thoughts on the matter: Valve’s Gabe Newell suspects the OS could be a “catastrophe”, while some senior types at Blizzard don’t seem so keen either.

The Next 20 Years [Critical Detail]


    • Yep. My start screen will consist of Steam, and I’ll go to my games from there. Although hopefully Windows 8 is a bigger failure than Vista and this will all go away…

      • Vista was a failure due to its lack of driver support and rediculous hardware requirements… Windows 8 is a failure because people don’t like the interface… The driver support is there, and the performance exceeds Windows 7… WIndows 8 won’t fail, people just won’t like having their start button removed.

        Third party programs do bring it back by the way.

        Not to mention WIndows 8 has some very good features, like native ISO mounting, the ribbon bar in explorer (I can hide and unhide folders at the freaking click of a button now!), an improved task manager, and improved copy tool.

  • don’t get me wrong its a silly idea limiting the marketplace like that, but don’t most of those games require steam/origin to activate anyway and since your going the digital download route anyway why not just buy from them in the first place

  • If it was like the iOS App Store and the *only* way to get software onto the device, then fair concern. But it’s not. Windows 8 doesn’t stop you buying games from Steam, from GOG, via retail disc.
    Yes it’s a dumb move on MS’s part, and they’ll lose potential sales as a result. But I hardly think it’s a catastrophe.

    Most ‘hardcoar gamerz’ are staunchly against Windows 8 for some reason anyway, so I doubt they give a hoot whether a game could have access to Win 8’s Start Screen.

  • FUD. None of those games would be deliverable through the Windows 8 Marketplace anyway. Those apps are the ones run in the start screen (formerly known as Metro Apps) only.

  • I really don’t believe these steps require so many articles across the internet decrying W8 as the anti-Christ of PC Gaming. It seems to me that a lot of people simply want to run onto the next big thing to be offended about on the internet, and MS is always an easy target, right?

    No other company would dare bundle a browser with their OS, or establish some sort of platform application monopoly, or outright ban use of a particular coding language simply to ensure people could not play free games from Flash websites, right? We’d all be up in arms!

    …oh, wait.

    People like Notch come out and post statements brimming with self-righteous anger and indignation at Microsoft attempting to step in and take over “their” PC and platform – while conveniently ignoring the fact that their flourishing PC is due in major part of Microsoft and their Windows software – and that Microsoft own Windows, aka: the platform. It’s their software, they can do what they like with it.

    If developers like Notch don’t like it, then they can stop using Windows at any time. Ubuntu is sitting *right there* waiting for people to make the leap. Kind of makes you wonder why Notch never even considered building Minecraft as a Nix app though, doesn’t it?

    W8 has two ways of running software – you are not limited like you are with Apple. If the article linked above is correct and their current policies would exclude loads of AAA games, of course they’ll change them – they’d be catastrophically stupid if they didn’t.

    I’d look at it this way: if you want your software to integrate with all the nifty W8 features, it needs to meet W8 specifications (not just in rating/content, but also no viruses, no malware, no unfinished or uncompleted code, no uncompleted games [looking at you, Notch]). The whole point is so that the billions of Windows users can have trusted software to download that they can be certain won’t destroy their computer.

    The rating restriction will change.

  • I dont see how this a problem, you can easily buy these games on origin or steam. Who would buy a game off of windows marketplace anyway?

  • Oh joy, another slippery slope fearmongering argument. The world would be a better place if everyone ignored those on sight.

    OK, MS won’t be selling these games through its own marketplace. They don’t do that NOW.

    Could MS introduce a new version of Windows where you can’t load software that isn’t from their store? Yes. We’ll boycott that version. Not boycott this version out of fear. (Incidentally, they won’t do it because the whole advantage of the Windows PC has been its broad compatibility, even where that’s created weaknesses in stability and security. If you can’t run a program not signed by Microsoft, innumberable businesses would not and could not buy in. It would be the stupidest thing MS could do.)

    Is the PEGI 16 limit badly chosen? Could be, and they may roll it back to ensure that it doesn’t ban games which are PEGI 16 but which are OK according to the ESRB ratings.

  • Eh. Wasn’t planning on upgrading to Windows 8 anyway. I use a desktop PC and not a tablet, so I don’t want to be stuck with a tablet interface as default for my PC.

  • This article is misleading. Microsoft are just adding a new way to get touch-styled apps, along the line of Apple’s App Store. These applications must target a specific framework, run on ARM architecture, and follow certain rules of design and content. You will not be seeing AAA games on Microsoft’s app store at all, just casual gaming similar to the Apple App Store. Basically this new store is for the tablet/phone/touch crowd.

    This does not apply to the sort of games this article is suggesting. Large AAA games will continue to be distributed and played exactly the same way they are now (Steam, box purchase, etc.). Microsoft are just adding a new kind of ecosystem to compete with Apple. Nothing is being taken away, just new stuff (different stuff) being added.

    • Its still an issue for app devs that want to sell in Europe. If those big games could get a T rating in the US, but pegi 18 in the EU, whats to stop apps from having the same thing happen to them?

      Also, what happens if Microsoft decides that it wants to compete with steam for big box games?

    • Thank you. Exactly as you say, this is a new ecosystem for metro that hasn’t existed before.

      I’m getting so sick and tired of this sort of fearmongering without providing all of the facts.

  • I’m starting to wonder if Microsoft are either A: Smoking some seriously good shit, or B:b are Masochistic, because under this rule, there are games made by MICROSOFT GAME STUDIOS that aren’t allowed.


  • Wow, who knew The Witcher was written to be WinRT compatible? Oh what’s that, it wasn’t? Well, guess it would have never been put on the store at all then.

  • Haha fools. What are they thinking.. oh right.. “Direct competition with Apple”.. that’s all that they are thinking these days.. and this is another sign of that “nanny state” mentality. The most open “mainstream” systems (yes.. I used the qualify of mainstream to point out that I acknowledge Linux as the king of open systems but that it’s not mainstream) crippled by petty philosophies.

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