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German law responsible for Wii U watershed

Last week we reported on how Nintendo was restricting its Eshop in the EU, making it impossible for anyone to access information, purchase options or trailers of 18+ rated games, unless they visited between 11PM and 3AM. Now Nintendo has explained why and it’s because of a single German law.

Gamers were angered when trying to buy games like ZombiU and Assassin’s Creed 3, since they simply weren’t allowed to access the respective pages on the Eshop, unless they visited within those very early morning hours. This raised questions over the effectiveness of Nintendo’s child accounts at protecting them from adult content.

ZombiU Block
Don't have children? Doesn't matter, no zombies for you before 11.

“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 said while speaking with 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.”

“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].”

What’s surprising here is that the restriction applies elsewhere too, not just in Germany where the law applies, but across all of Europe. The annoyance from fans has led to many asking the question, why Nintendo has its headquarters located in Germany, where such restrictions apply.

KitGuru Says: It’s a shame that this is a problem for so many, since it will ultimately mean that Nintendo misses out on sales because people that don’t want to stay up until after 11PM don’t buy the game they were going to. Also, why are PEGI rating areas – like the UK – restricted more than Germany? They get 10-4, while we only get 11-3.

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