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Microsoft Caves In, Allows Mature Games in Windows Store

Microsoft said on Thursday night that it's reversing its original position on blocking submissions of games rated for a mature audience.

Previously section 6.2 of the Windows App guidelines stated that anything rated over PEGI 16, ESRB's "Mature" or any other corresponding rating would not be allowed in the Windows Store. It was understandable at the time – Microsoft just didn't want its new marketplace littered with adult-oriented apps.

While this really doesn't affect the American market – so few are rated above Mature – the rule prevented quite a few titles from appearing in the Windows Store overseas including The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, The Walking Dead, Mass Effect 2 and 3, Fallout: New Vegas and more. Granted these titles can be purchased on third-party platforms and run on the desktop anyway, the silly limitation was offensive to customers and content owners alike.

"Your app must not contain content or functionality that encourages, facilitates, or glamorizes illegal activity," stated section 5.3. "Your app must not contain excessive or gratuitous profanity," added section 5.8.

Nevertheless, Microsoft has changed its tune and will now begin accepting games with a rating of PEGI 18.

"In welcoming PEGI 18 games into the Store, we again reinforce two principles—flexibility and confidence—fundamental to the Windows Store," states Ted Dworkin, Director of Program Management for Windows Store. "We recognize that people have come to expect and appreciate rich gaming experiences on Windows and this includes games rated PEGI 18. We also want to ensure that every customer using the Store can browse and acquire apps with confidence."

The first two titles listed to arrive on Windows Store is The Witcher 2 Enhanced Edition from CD Projekt, and Grand Theft Auto IV from Take Two. Additional titles will arrive soon, Dworkin said.

As previously stated, these games can be purchased through third-party platforms and run on the desktop. If Windows 8 customers aren't using the Modern UI despite having upgraded from a previous version of Windows, then chances are it doesn't matter what Microsoft is selling in the Windows Store. Even more, titles like Grand Theft Auto IV and The Witcher 2 aren't even sold by Microsoft – they're merely listed in the Store and linked back to the publisher's digital version which in turn runs on the desktop.

That said, the big stink back in early October – at least for desktop and notebook users -- was that (1) it was unclear as to what kind of roles the Modern UI and desktop would play in Windows 8, and (2) that Microsoft would block the listing of games that can be purchased directly from publishers, or from competitors like Steam.

"As the Store grows and the opportunity for developers increases we will continue to listen to feedback and review our process to ensure that developers have the tools and guidance necessary to create great games for customers around the world," Dworkin concluded.

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  • apache_lives
    Windows 8 is good i don't care what anyone else says i truly love it.
    Reply
  • A Bad Day
    As long as MS only allows mature content created by reputable people and block the other mature content eye-melting crap that is littered throughout the internet, I don't mind.

    Though I'm hoping they got the parental controls ready to handle such contents.
    Reply
  • kracker
    Of course you don't.... You really must be attached to all your phones, you didn't know what a computer is until Windows 8!
    "Oh Yeah! Now I get it! a big phone!"
    Reply
  • echondo
    Just use Steam...even if you buy Skyrim on the Windows store you will still have to go through Steam, so I don't see the point in this.

    Windows 7/Ubuntu and Steam
    Reply
  • A Bad Day
    If MS store can actually compete against Steam in the prices of the software (rather than using EA's tactic of locking products out of Steam), I don't mind the competition. :)
    Reply
  • NuclearShadow
    A Bad DayIf MS store can actually compete against Steam in the prices of the software (rather than using EA's tactic of locking products out of Steam), I don't mind the competition.
    Normally competition is a good thing but I would actually be weary of that if it actually succeeded to produce better deals and attract the majority of users. Since Microsoft is the creator of Windows if they become the main distributor of software and games made by 3rd parties they could be tempted to further Windows to be a closed platform and removing competition entirely. Then prices would skyrocket.
    Reply
  • alidan
    echondoJust use Steam...even if you buy Skyrim on the Windows store you will still have to go through Steam, so I don't see the point in this.Windows 7/Ubuntu and Steam
    alot of people dont know, here let me put it this way

    lets say that ios had 3 marketplaces

    apple
    google
    and amazon

    most people would only look at apple and nowhere else
    if apple doesn't allow the content but lets say google and amazon will, it would only reach a fraction of the group and only a fraction of them would buy it.

    excludeing it from the store dooms many

    now lets take this away from big games
    lets say an indie game like hotline miami didn't come out there...
    do you think that it would still do as well as it did if it wasn't there?
    what if it was... how much more would it sell.

    there is also the angle of microsoft controlling what you can see and buy, which is never good.
    Reply
  • bigdragon
    I'm an adult. Stop making it hard for me to buy games. I want to spend my money in exchange for adult games. I really don't care if someone's child manages to pick up a copy of GTA and learn about gangs, catch a glimpse of boobs in God of War, or get offended by the content of a fighting game. I want my shooters, adventure, and sandbox games.

    This is a good move by Microsoft. It's also not one that was unexpected. I'm not sure who is making decisions at Microsoft right now, but these people clearly have very little idea about what they're doing. Hopefully they've been removed by now rather than simply caving to public pressure on the issue of mature games.
    Reply
  • A Bad Day
    bigdragonI'm not sure who is making decisions at Microsoft right now, but these people clearly have very little idea about what they're doing. Hopefully they've been removed by now rather than simply caving to public pressure on the issue of mature games.
    That's the issue. The topic of mature rated games is quite controversial, and EA has only been fueling it as a strange marketing purpose (gain fame and free advertising through notoriety I think).
    Reply
  • bystander
    NuclearShadowNormally competition is a good thing but I would actually be weary of that if it actually succeeded to produce better deals and attract the majority of users. Since Microsoft is the creator of Windows if they become the main distributor of software and games made by 3rd parties they could be tempted to further Windows to be a closed platform and removing competition entirely. Then prices would skyrocket.I doubt antitrust laws would allow them to do this. They've had to deal with antitrust stuff for years already.
    Reply