Dying Light: Platinum Edition launched on Nintendo Switch today, but due to an extremely peculiar Germany-specific ban, the digital version of the game is unavailable to players in Europe, Australia, and New Zealand.
A few pieces of information need to be pulled together to make sense of this odd situation. First, you need to know that until very recently, Germany had a long history of banning violent video games that were otherwise sold around the world. Second, you need to know that Nintendo’s European base is in Germany, so it’s from there that all European (and seemingly Australian and New Zealand) purchases are made.
Dying Light was banned in Germany in 2015, due to the country’s extremely draconian approach to bloody content in games. This has long been an issue there. In the ‘80s and ‘90s, to release a violent video game in Germany, developers would have to take bizarre steps like replacing all red blood with green pixels. As a superb article on GI.biz broke down last year, this was all thanks to the Youth Protection Laws that made Germany’s ratings some of the strictest outside of China.
Recently those laws have been eased. Even games like Wolfenstein have been cleared for release in Germany, where once any depiction of Nazis would torpedo any chance of it being sold. But Dying Light’s brutality was caught up before those changes, and so the game was never allowed to be released there.
Now here we are today, the release date of Dying Light’s Platinum Edition on Switch. That’s gone without a hitch in North America and Asia, but with a surprise, and very significant, hiccup in Europe. A statement posted to Reddit by developers Techland explains, “due to nature of content the digital version of the game is currently banned in Germany where European e-Shop is officially registered.”
“This is making it impossible to officially distribute the game in European countries and also in Australia and New Zealand,” the statement continues, adding, “We are currently working with our partner and local authorities to remove the ban as soon as we can.”
If anything, it’s surprising this hasn’t been an issue before. While the Switch doesn’t tend to play host to many violent games, it’s becoming less abnormal of late. It’s certainly something Nintendo is going to want to consider, since its European HQ isn’t likely to move.
Fortunately, anyone in the affected regions wanting to play Dying Light can still get a physical copy of the game, unless of course they live in Germany. Even then, as TechRaptor points out, it’s possible to set up a U.S. Nintendo account from any country, and then add that to your Switch. It’s a clumsy workaround, but it does mean you can buy from the U.S. store, and so enjoy your illicit zombie-bashing on the sly.