Windows Marketplace: No Adult Rated Software, Please

A Microsoft representative confirmed with Kotaku on Thursday that Windows 8's marketplace -- which will be a native app in the new operating system later this month -- will not offer games with a rating over PEGI 16, ESRB Mature ("M") or a corresponding rating under other ratings systems. This rule, which resides in section 6.2 of the Windows App guidelines, applies to all software sold within Microsoft new virtual storefront.

Here in the States, very few games that sport an A rating will be banned from the Windows 8 store. But Kotaku points out that European gamers will need to look elsewhere to purchase a number of popular titles that have been awarded the PEGI 18 rating. These include The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, Mass Effect 2 and 3, Fallout: New Vegas and many more.

Kotaku's inquiry to Microsoft was sparked by an article written by Casey Muratori called The Next Twenty Years. He explains why the closed distribution model of Windows 8 will need to be changed "for the sake of developers, consumers and Microsoft itself."

"For the first time in the history of the PC, Microsoft is rolling out a new Windows ecosystem for which they will be the sole software distributor," he writes. "If you buy Windows 8, the only place you will be able to download software that integrates with its new user interface will be the official Windows Store. Microsoft will have complete control over what software will be allowed there."

The article assumes that even more games – and possibly other media for that matter – will be banned from the Windows 8 store based on content alone, not just their rating. Here are a few reasons, taken stright from Microsoft's own guidelines:

"Your app must not contain content or functionality that encourages, facilitates, or glamorizes illegal activity," reads section 5.3.

"Your app must not contain content that encourages, facilitates or glamorizes excessive or irresponsible use of alcohol or tobacco products, drugs or weapons," reads section 5.6.

"Your app must not contain excessive or gratuitous profanity," states section 5.8.

Instead of becoming just another player in the touch device space, he suggests that Microsoft should become one of the primary forces fighting to make tablet development as open as desktop development was under traditional Windows.

"They could take market share from the completely closed (and thoroughly dominant) iPad, and help restore to that space the freedom to innovate that developers lost when Apple imposed its restrictive policies," he suggested.

So far it looks like that's not going to happen.

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  • mcd023
    wow, Europe is strict. I wonder if they'll find a solution to allow those games, but still filter what they want. On the flip side, it's not like you'll be running those on ARM anyway; though it'd be possible to port them to Metro apps, I don't think that these will be ported.
  • nebun
    interesting....can i also own a hard copy of the game?
  • axehand13
    Another reason why NOT to upgrade.
  • bigdragon
    This is insanity. I am an adult. Don't stop me from buying adult software. No Windows 8 for me. I don't even think I want to buy a Surface Pro anymore even though I planned to put Windows 7 on it. Absolutely disgusting news from Microsoft.
  • CaedenV
    bigdragonThis is insanity. I am an adult. Don't stop me from buying adult software. No Windows 8 for me. I don't even think I want to buy a Surface Pro anymore even though I planned to put Windows 7 on it. Absolutely disgusting news from Microsoft.Surface and Surface pro will have 'secure boot', so you simply will not be able to put win7 on it in the first place.
  • bllue
    I don't think MS would regulate this...they'll probably change it and make the rules for lenient because they're literally banning A LOT
  • cercuitspark
    axehand13Another reason why NOT to upgrade.
    Why, it won't block you from running 18+ games, it's just that the MS store won't sell them...
  • @caedenv
    That not how secure boot works , it's used to lock down the software not hardware

    why the bloody hell would you buy a touch device only to use a non-touch optimized OS, and this applies to the Ms app store only, your free to buy your adult stuff elsewhere, it's windows not ios you free to install whatever you feel like from where ever, just MS isn't going to he selling it though their app store thats all
  • COLGeek
    An unintended consequence of rules and regulations on an international scale. It is easier (and less expensive) for M$ to do this than to be held liable for violating any particular country's laws.

    Actually, like it or not, this is a smart move on M$'s part.
  • RedJaron
    Relax, people, this is just talking about software purchased directly through the Windows Marketplace. The article makes it sound as though that's the ONLY way to get apps on Win 8. That may be true for the RT/ARM version on slates, but there's nothing preventing someone from getting a game through another distribution means for their desktop.

    This is nothing different than what Android, iOS App Store, or Steam already do. It's their store, they can decide what types of products they want to offer ( and as COLGeek says, what countries they don't want to get into legal battles with. )