Windows 8 launched yesterday, and with it the new Windows Store. Of all of the major and minor gripes PC gamers have had with the new OS, it’s the refusal of the Windows 8 Marketplace to stock PEGI-18 rated games that’s proved gripiest. The Windows App guidelines effectively banned games including Skyrim, Modern Warfare 3 and Dishonored from appearing on Microsoft’s stall in Europe.
Which is why it’s my great pleasure to announce that the Windows 8 Marketplace will sell 18-rated games after all. Though not just yet.
The new ruling from Microsoft gives the green light to games that have an ESRB Mature rating in the US - even if they’ve also been slapped with a PEGI-18 in the UK.
The change will come into effect this year, Windows Corporate VP of of Web Services Antoine Leblond told Gizmodo, but not before December. Yesterday’s announcement was made to “give developers a heads up that that's where we're going, so they can have the peace of mind around developing the kinds of games that will have those ratings."
Leblond was keen to point out that 18-rated games will be available via other digital distributors on Windows in the meantime - namely Steam and Origin.
"We want the world of desktop apps to to keep existing [outside of the Windows Store]. There's no reason to get in the way of that.
“Valve can keep being Valve," he added.
Perhaps ocean-crossed confusion was at the root of this whole silly affair. It seems Microsoft have mistaken PEGI’s commonly-used 18 rating as equivalent to their own - the rarely used ‘Adults Only’ label - rather than the 17-and-up ‘Mature’ made so familiar by US trailers. In fact, the A rating has only been pinned to 23 games in the history of the ESRB, and doomed most of those titles to commercial disaster.
Has this news softened your opinion on the controversial OS at all?