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German law restricts 18+ content on Wii U eShop

Nintendo's German HQ means adult games can only be sold at night in Europe

Adult content in the Wii U's European eShop can only be sold at specific times due to legal restrictions in Germany, Eurogamer reports.

Nintendo's European base is in Germany, which makes it subject to regulations preventing the sale of 18+ content outside of a specific time-slot.

As a result, in the UK, games like Assassin's Creed 3 and ZombiU can only be purchased through the eShop between 23:00 and 03:00; in Germany, adult content can only be purchased between 22:00 and 04:00.

“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,” a Nintendo spokesperson told Eurogamer.

“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.”

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Latest comments (17)

Adam Campbell Producer, Hopster3 years ago
lol!
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Stephan Schwabe Multichannelmanagement, Telefonica3 years ago
The thing in this case is nintendo just need to add a autentification to the shop and thy can sell it all day.
But maybe its to much monye to implement it. Gamesload.de allready uses a autentification to buy 18+ games all day and if you dont autentificate you can buy the games after 22:00h.

Over all i like the +18 rating in our country i dont want my kid to whatch 18+ trailers without me.
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Seb Downie Producer, Guerrilla Games3 years ago
Uhh that is a sore one. I can't see this being resolved easily in a short space of time. Will need some smart legal trickery to get through this particular problem. I find it hard to imagine this hasn't been on their radar for some time.
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Show all comments (17)
Tameem Antoniades Creative Director & Co-founder, Ninja Theory Ltd3 years ago
This isn't a monty python sketch, this organisation actually exists: "Federal Department for Media Harmful to Young Persons"
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Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.3 years ago
This is only applicable because NoE is headquarterd in Germany. As a seller of content, they are regulated under German law.

As Tom suggested, it may be possible to establish a subsidiary elsewhere to operate the eShop from but I don't know enough German law to know if their software sales restriction only applies to the parent company or if it filters down to subsidiaries too.

Perhaps IP filtering could work?

I do believe other services (Steam, PS3, X360) also have some kind of content filter for Germany but since they are not based in Germany, it only applies to just German sales.

Tameem, I was actually about to link to the Wiki page. May as well now.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bundespr%C3%BCfstelle_f%C3%BCr_jugendgef%C3%A4hrdende_Medien

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Jim Webb on 10th December 2012 12:13pm

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Felix Leyendecker Senior 3D Artist, Crytek3 years ago
I actually wanted to buy ZombiU on the eshop but didn't bother because the digital version is 10eur more expensive.
It's a bummer, but at least we don't have to deal with friend codes and other overly cautious think-of-the-children measures anymore.
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Aleksi Ranta Product Manager - Hardware 3 years ago
Taken from a wiki, banned games in Germany:
Soldier of Fortune: Payback = Banned due to high levels of gore (decapitations, dismemberments, and excessive blood-letting)
KZ Manager (1990-10-29/1990-11-19) =Banned because of Nazi references.
Condemned: Criminal Origins (Decision AG Munic February 2008) =banned because of high impact violence and cruelty.
Condemned 2: Bloodshot = Banned because of high impact violence and cruelty.
Manhunt (all versions, 2004-07-19) = Banned because of high impact scary violence and cruelty.
Manhunt 2 = Banned for "gross, unrelenting, and gratuitous violence."
Dead Rising = Banned because of high impact violence and cruelty.
Dead Rising 2 = Banned because of high impact violence and cruelty.
Silent Hill: Homecoming (Uncut) = Banned because of high impact violence and cruelty.
Wolfenstein (Uncut) = Banned because of Nazi references.
Scarface: The World is Yours (Uncut) = Banned because of high impact violence and cruelty.
Left 4 Dead 2 (Uncut) = Banned because of high impact violence and cruelty.
The Darkness (Uncut European Xbox 360 version) = Banned because of Nazi signs in bonus comic.

Nazi references I do understand, especially in Germany. But Dead Rising?

As to what games are edited in someway in Germany, around 140.
List includes Cars 2. Amazing.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Aleksi Ranta on 10th December 2012 2:44pm

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Villhauer Benjamin Product Director, Blizzard Entertainment3 years ago
Tbh, as a German citizen I find it both silly and useless that you can only buy mature content during night. How will this stop kids from getting up at night and buy it anyways?
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Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.3 years ago
More to the point is that all 3 consoles have parental controls.

This is straight from the Wii U website from Nintendo regarding the Wii U parental controls:
"Game Rating: Restrict all usage (as well as purchase through the Nintendo eShop) of software exceeding the rating level of your choice. "

It seems the problem is that Germany doesn't want to give parents that choice and have decided for them.
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Stephan Schwabe Multichannelmanagement, Telefonica3 years ago
@ Jim
thats not true you can use age autentification via verify-u or telekom sevice netgate´ther might be more im not in to all of them but this are the 2 i use for VoD via maxdome or for the digital distributor gamesload.de.
Nintendo just need to implement a service for that , if nintendo wants this.
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Richard stewart3 years ago
do these services exist all across Europe as they would have to for the service to have any real meaning
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Barrie Tingle Live Producer, Maxis3 years ago
Maybe it is a typo in the article or maybe not but if this is because of German restrictions why is the UK limited from 23:00 to 3:00 (4 hours) while Germany is 22:00 to 4:00 (6 hours) of buying time.
Wouldn't it be 22:00 to 2:00 in Germany if it is aligning across Europe?
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Andrew Jakobs Lead Programmer 3 years ago
Hmmm, that can't be right, because if they have to adher to the german law, it also means they can only sell (18+)games that are crippled (green blood or no swastica's) to any other EU country..
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Mariusz Szlanta Producer, SEGA Europe3 years ago
It's just a serious oversight on Nintendo side. They could either create legal entity in other European Community country or check German law and see if IP filtering would allow them to sell to people outside Germany without time restrictions.
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Daniel Meyer Editor / Author, ingame GmbH3 years ago
Did you guys know: Zelda: Links Awakening was cencored here in Germany. Just hilarious :D
It contained sexually inappropiate contet (a mermaid who lost her bra - was changed to lost her necklace)
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It would be hilarious if this also applied to Australia, and we were covered "under Europe"... because of the timezone differences, this would mean we could only buy MA content in the middle of the day!

Does anyone know where the Australian eShop is run from? I doubt its Australia, and it definitely is not the US. For WiiWare releases, it is Europe...
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Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.3 years ago
Sorry, Michael. That will be Europe.
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