Windows 8 and Windows Phone are joined at the hip in more ways than one, but apparently there's a loose stitching between the two when it comes to adult content. Kotaku discovered an interesting rule in the Windows Store (for Windows 8) certification guidelines. Here is the quote:
5.1 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. Metadata and other content you submit to accompany your app may contain only content that would merit a rating of PEGI 12, ESRB EVERYONE, or Windows Store 12+, or lower.
In other words, PEGI 18 games cannot be sold through the Windows Store on Windows 8. This has gotten the entire gaming industry up in arms with Microsoft, since it could have a severe effect on which games are available to purchase from the Windows Store in Europe.
For those who are not familiar with the PEGI rating system, the highest you can go without being banned from nearly all stores is PEGI 18. That rating is usually equivalent to an ESRB score of 'M' in the U.S., but apparently Microsoft does not see it that way and instead lumps them in alongside the ESRB's ADULT-rated games. See the chart below, taken from section 6.2 of the Windows Store certification guidelines.
While that may not seem like a huge deal at first, Pocket-Lint points out that nearly all of the blockbuster gaming releases in the past few years technically cannot be sold through the Windows Store. That would include titles like the Call of Duty games, Assassin's Creed, Elder Scrolls V, and Max Payne 3. However, that does not mean users will be barred from installing the games on their computer — they just won't be able to buy them from the Windows Store.
The situation becomes even more peculiar when you realize that the Windows Phone Store's certification policies are comparatively more lax when it comes to content ratings. Here's a direct excerpt from Section 3.0 Content Policies for Windows Phone games (emphasis ours):
Game applications rated CERO "Z", CRB "MA 15+", DJCTQ "18", ESRB "M", FPB "18", GRB "15", OFLC - New Zealand "R18", PEGI "18", or USK "18", may be accepted but could be blocked from download based on Windows Phone parental controls.
As you can see, Microsoft has left it a little more open-ended when it comes to Windows Phone games in the event that a game is a little too extreme for their taste. However, these rules contradict the Windows 8 policies, since according to these policies ESRB M and PEGI 18 are on an equal standing.
It's a really bizarre situation, and something tells us Microsoft will either amend the Windows 8 rules to include PEGI 18-rated games, or they will spin it as a way to help storefronts like Steam keep its hold on the PC gaming audience. Either way, expect a response from Microsoft at some point.
Via: Kotaku, Pocket-Lint
Source: Windows Store, Windows Phone Store