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Nintendo Wii U eShop sells 18+ games only between 11PM and 3AM in Europe (update)

Nintendo Wii U eShop sells 18+ games only between 11PM and 3AM in Europe (update)
Ben Gilbert
Ben Gilbert|@RealBenGilbert|December 7, 2012 3:27 PM

Nintendo's Wii U console doesn't trust you, Europe. At least not with your digital purchases, as European Wii U owners are reporting that various "Mature" titles (18+ per Europe's PEGI ratings) are unable to be purchased outside of a late-night window (11PM to 3AM). Trailers for said titles can't even be watched. Of course, Nintendo's not known for publishing many "Mature" first-party titles -- it leaves that to its third-party support -- meaning this issue seemingly only affects Nintendo's partners. Blockbuster multiplatform game Assassin's Creed 3, for instance, is only purchasable during the aforementioned four hour window, as is Wii U-exclusive ZombiU. The Wii U does have parental controls, and separate user accounts (tied to passwords if you so choose), and the eShop can be cut off entirely from any one particular user, so it's a bit baffling why this extra barrier is necessary.

Update: Nintendo of America tells us, "This is a European policy and does not impact Nintendo of America."

Update 2: Nintendo of Europe confirms the restriction, saying it affects the entire European Union, but it's Germany's restrictive USK guidelines that are steering this mess. Nintendo's European branch is based out of Germany. "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," Nintendo customer service reps are saying.

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"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]."

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Nintendo Wii U eShop sells 18+ games only between 11PM and 3AM in Europe (update)