Computer games rated above PEGI 16 will not be permitted to appear on the upcoming Windows 8 Marketplace, after Microsoft revealed its new set of content restrictions.
A particular line of legislation from the Windows 8 App Certification Requirements explains that:
"Your app must not contain adult content, and metadata must be appropriate for everyone. Apps with a rating over PEGI 16, ESRB MATURE, or that contain content that would warrant such a rating, are not allowed."
This means that no 18 rated games will be available for purchase from the Windows Marketplace in Europe, at all.
Some other restrictions on games have been highlighted by Critical Detail writer Casey Muratori, and republished on Game Industry:
"Your app must not contain content or functionality that encourages, facilitates, or glamorizes illegal activity."
"Your app must not contain content that encourages, facilitates or glamorizes excessive or irresponsible use of alcohol or tobacco products, drugs or weapons."
"Your app must not contain excessive or gratuitous profanity."
Microsoft has confirmed these rules, with PR agency Edstrom telling Casey Muratori that all submitted apps will be subject to content restriction:
"No, you cannot distribute Windows Store apps without going through the Windows Store. The exception to this is for enterprise apps. Developers can, however, create and offer desktop apps the same way they always have - through their own site or distribution point."
The Windows 8 Marketplace has already drawn intense criticism from game developers, for its policy of vetting and regulating PC content. Co-founder of Valve Gabe Newell has called Windows 8 a "catastrophe for everyone in the PC space," telling audiences at the Casual Connect game conference, as reported by the BBC, that "we've been able to benefit from everything that went into PCs and the internet, and we have to continue to figure out how there will be open platforms."
Developer of Minecraft Markus Persson, also known as 'Notch' has also spoken out against Windows 8, explaining via his Twitter feed that he had received a request from Microsoft asking him to submit Minecraft to the Windows 8 Marketplace:
"Got an email from Microsoft, wanting to help "certify" Minecraft for Win 8" said Persson's tweet. "I told them to stop trying to ruin the PC as an open platform."
"I'd rather have Minecraft not run on Win 8 at all than to play along," continued Persson.
Windows 8 will be available on 26 October, with the Windows Phone 8 coming three days later on 29 October. A set of adverts for the new operating system have been leaked onto YouTube already.
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