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Censorship EU Nintendo Games

Nintendo Puts a Bedtime On Wii U Content In Europe 190

Posted by timothy
from the wait-until-you're-older dept.
kc67 writes "Nintendo of Europe is blocking Wii U content in the region that is rated PEGI 18+ between the hours of 3 a.m. and 11 p.m., according to a Eurogamer report. Under these stipulations, the four-hour window of 11 p.m. to 3 a.m. is the only time users can purchase games like ZombiU or Assassin's Creed III or even view trailers for such games. The story originated from a NeoGAF forum user, which reportedly received an email from Nintendo saying the following: 'Dear customer, we would like to let you know that Nintendo has always aimed to offer gameplay experiences suited to all age groups, observing carefully all the relevant regulations regarding content access that are present in the various European countries. We have thus decided to restrict the access to content which is unsuitable to minors (PEGI) to the 11 p.m.- 3 a.m. time window.' Eurogamer has since verified the claim. It received a message stating 'You cannot view this content' and 'The times during which this content can be viewed have been restricted.' Nintendo has yet to comment on the matter."
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Nintendo Puts a Bedtime On Wii U Content In Europe

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  • by mister_playboy (1474163) on Saturday December 08, 2012 @02:20AM (#42223429)

    RPGs with time passage often have stores that sell special goods at a specific ingame time... the "0200 special".

    Nintendo seems to have liked that idea enough to implement it in the real world. :)

    • by ohnocitizen (1951674) on Saturday December 08, 2012 @02:49AM (#42223541)
      And the elf village's lone Item store languished in the ensuing economic downturn. The nearby hall of the dwarves, however, was a picture of success and wealth. Their bold "all hours shopping" policy meant I could buy potions whether I was stumbling in from a late night dungeon raid or looking for something to help with my morning monster-ridden constitutional.
    • Reminds ME of another little Nintendo RPG trick. "Alchoholic beverage? More like soda! Can't teach american kids to fetch alcoholic beverages for adults!"
  • I just have to ask why Nintendo does anything like this. Opt-in for mature^W adolescent content, have that as an option when you first configure the device, just do something that makes this an option if you believe it's to be segregated per audience.

    There's no reason to believe that all households with a WiiU have members that should not be exposed to their catalog, and there's no reason to believe that households with such members will have them unavailable during those hours.

    • I can think of two explainations. It's possible they have a genuine 'for the children!' moral crusader in management, who believes it is the duty of the company to do all it can to keep children from playing games with violent or sexual content. Alternatively, this might be just a stunt intended to boost the company image as the most 'family friendly' console and thus boost sales with the substantial demographic of over-worried parents.

    • by ultranova (717540)

      I just have to ask why Nintendo does anything like this.

      To make it more likely that you're tired or drunk and thus easier prey when visiting their store? Or it could be image reason - "it's not our fault you let your children stay up at night". Or maybe someone there wants the online shop to fail for reasons of office politics.

      No matter what the reason, what this tells me is that WiiU should be avoided until things stabilize.

    • Re:WHY? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Xest (935314) on Saturday December 08, 2012 @05:40AM (#42224007)

      Yeah, I was somewhat tempted to buy a WiiU, I don't know why, impulse purchase thing I guess, but this has really closed the doors for me on the idea.

      I only really like adult games, with a few exceptions like Mario, Zelda and Pikmin, childish games that plagued the Wii never really did it for me, I like something with a nice gritty story line or just generally a bit more adult in nature.

      But seeing as I get up for work at 6:30am each morning, and so tend to go to bed about 10:30pm nowadays (gone are the late night gamer days - growing up sucks!) and don't tend to deviate much from that on weekends it basically means I'd either have to stay up and be tired when driving to work, or forego exactly the type of content that I would play.

      So it's lost them at least one sale here, and I suspect many more.

      • by Gordonjcp (186804)

        Yeah, because the half hour difference between 10:30pm and 11pm would just ruin you.

        Of course, you could always try getting up earlier in the morning, and catch the store before it closes.

        • by Vlado (817879)

          He wouldn't go to bed at 11pm. He would go to bed 12am or 1am, or later. And that might ruin him, yes. Depending on how much sleep his particular organism needs and how intense his workplace environment is.

          And in any case, if adult content was purchased then adult content can be consumed whenever the purchaser wants it to. Or the purchaser can decide on another platform that will allow them consumption at their leisure and will not impose its standards on them.

          • by bolthole (122186)

            And that might ruin him, yes. Depending on how much sleep his particular organism needs and how intense his workplace environment is.

            What, he works *7 days a week* ??

        • by Xest (935314)

          Yeah, it would actually. I'm really tired if I get my 8 hours, so 10:30pm to 6:30am is the absolute minimum for me if I want to be awake enough for the next day (which is kind of important when you're a) driving, and b) working on complex maths and programming problems for a living).

          Being tired for a console just isn't worth it, especially when the competitors don't have such absurd artificial restrictions.

        • by HexRei (515117)

          Yeah, because the half hour difference between 10:30pm and 11pm would just ruin you.

          Of course, you could always try getting up earlier in the morning, and catch the store before it closes.

          It's still stupid, and based on the bizarre idea that kids won't have access to their console during that period. How bout asking parents to lock down their credit cards a little more tightly?

        • by mcgrew (92797) *

          Of course, you could always try getting up earlier in the morning, and catch the store before it closes.

          He shouldn't have to. If the grocery store only sold beer from 11:00 PM to 3:00 AM I'd never drink; this is the same thing. It's really, really stupid, almost as stupid as trying to defend the stupid practice.

      • by Jmc23 (2353706)
        So, the 30 minutes from 10 to 10:30 isn't enough to do a quick check of new TRAILERS or to buy a game?

        I'd be tempted to ask whether you even live in the EU but my confidence in peoples reading comprehension abilities is plummeting.

    • Re:WHY? (Score:4, Informative)

      by grumbel (592662) <grumbel@gmx.de> on Saturday December 08, 2012 @10:29AM (#42224853) Homepage

      I just have to ask why Nintendo does anything like this.

      Nintendo isn't the only one. Ubisoft's UPlay and EA's Origin don't allow you to buy age 18 content outside of 23:00-6:00 either, even age 16 is locked between 22:00-6:00.

      • by MrL0G1C (867445)

        That longer time makes more sense, if you're going to sleep before 10 then the odds are you can make the purchase just before 6am...

        Still stupid nannying though.

    • by Jmc23 (2353706)
      Perhaps you wouldn't be wondering why they're doing it if you had an ability to read and comprehend the summary.
      • And perhaps you should read the second paragraph of what you replied to, which speaks against the reasoning presented in the summary.

        • by Jmc23 (2353706)
          They have parental controls, quite a slew of them, all available as options. Your reasoning is stupid and wouldn't survive a court of law. It's called broadcasting. Whether or not someone at Nintendo misunderstood the broadcasting laws from Germany and that they shouldn't apply to digital downloads, or to all of the EU, is another story. Perhaps videos are multi-casted to preserve bandwidth, or games torrented, in which case the broadcast laws do apply and they are legally obliged to implement this stra
  • Nintendo to Europe: Go to bed.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    It would have been, but I had to wait for my four-hour window due to the sleazy nature of this post.

  • by kramerd (1227006) on Saturday December 08, 2012 @02:24AM (#42223453)

    too bad...

  • by Anubis IV (1279820) on Saturday December 08, 2012 @02:32AM (#42223487)

    ...tends to handle this issue on its own. At least as far as purchases go.

    As for the rest, just do what every single other recent console has done and put password-protected access restrictions in the system. Not only does it give more granular control to the customer, it also ensures that Nintendo's rules aren't enforced on people who don't want them, while also ensuring that night shift workers won't be left without a way to purchase content.

    Their solution has got to be one of the worst choices out of the options that were available.

    • by Splab (574204)

      Lack of creditcard is no good. It's quite common for adults to be using Maestro or Electron cards in Europe.

      But to be honest, preventing people to buy a product is just stupid. It's not going to prevent young ones from playing the games - if the parents aren't smart enough to restrict gameplay, restricting buying time doesn't help.

  • by stanlyb (1839382) on Saturday December 08, 2012 @02:32AM (#42223489)
    This is the sound that my Wii U makes, when i throw it out from my flat....
  • Parental Controls (Score:5, Insightful)

    by asmkm22 (1902712) on Saturday December 08, 2012 @02:35AM (#42223505)

    Shouldn't a feature like this be tied to parental controls rather than an all or nothing approach?

    • by Dahamma (304068)

      Yes, absolutely! Parental controls already exist on other consoles like Xbox 360 to handle exactly this sort of thing. And any minor who can bypass those controls can easily STAY UP UNTIL 11PM, making this just a bunch of completely useless pandering towards the "family values" crowd...

      • by tlhIngan (30335)

        Yes, absolutely! Parental controls already exist on other consoles like Xbox 360 to handle exactly this sort of thing. And any minor who can bypass those controls can easily STAY UP UNTIL 11PM, making this just a bunch of completely useless pandering towards the "family values" crowd...

        As Apple and everyone who has dealt with the V-Chip knows, nobody uses parental controls, even when it says so right on the box or users are forced to enable them. Parent simply hands device off to their kids and lets them pl

        • by Dahamma (304068)

          I have no idea where you were going with this, it was so all over the map... but are you saying because the technology was provided and clearly explained that parents are not responsible for their kids and the government and corporations should have to limit access to content to *EVERYONE* in that case?

          Because, honestly, that's bullshit, and censorship. I am all for selective programmatic restriction of adult content to children but blanket blocking to EVERYONE just because of lazy parents. Whatever. Nan

    • Yep. On by default, but able to be deactivated by a PIN seems a more sane method for those users who don't have kids and don't need nannying.

    • by jrumney (197329)
      It is tied to parental control. In the hours when the parents are least likely to be controlling what their 13 year old is doing in the privacy of their own bedroom, that's when the 18+ games will be available.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    This is only for the eShop. After you have the game, then it doesn't matter. Sure, it's annoying, but it's only something you have to deal with when you want to buy a game. I don't think it's very outrage worthy, which is how some people are reacting, but whatever.

    Here's a less FUDy article [joystiq.com]

    I still think it's silly, especially it ending at 3am (or is that when kids wake up in Europe...?), but it's not like it's forcing you to only play your games in a specific 4 hour period.

  • On the internet I have seen members of the nintendo defence force but the blame on governments, but the reality is that a Microsoft or Sony also operates in the same markets and they don't have such a moronic way of dealing with this.

    Why they just do 't check the age based on the birthday, a checkbox or whatever... You know how like xbox live, psn or even steam handles it.

    Nintendo and technology... It is like announcing cloud saves and tying an account to a single machine... Oh wait. Really when ninte
    • by DrXym (126579)
      Can't speak for the 360, but the PS3 allows you to set a parental level and it is enforced on PSN and PS Home. It works pretty well except for one glaring and inexplicable "feature". If you set the level 8 (for example) it blocks out the names of games over that level and you have more than 1 game it is impossible to tell which is which. So are you launching God of War 3 or Red Dead Redemption? Short of disabling controls or memorizing the install size, you have no way of knowing until its too late.
  • Three Words (Score:2, Informative)

    by Guppy06 (410832)

    observing carefully all the relevant regulations regarding content access that are present in the various European countries

    Three words: least common denominator. They are simply abiding by the most stringent requirements in the European market.

    Repeat after me: the EU is not the United States of Europe.

  • Child account ... (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 08, 2012 @03:32AM (#42223671)

    This is a published feature of the child accounts. Either the people reporting this just don't know that and are trying with child accounts, or it's a simple case of the feature being implemented wrong.

  • Hoax? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by gallondr00nk (868673)

    Sure Nintendo has a bit of a reputation for being rather nannyish but come on, a 4 hour window for 18 rated games? It sounds completely absurd.

    I'm guessing this is either complete bullshit, or there's some parental control enabled by default buried in the options somewhere.

    • Re:Hoax? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Golden_Rider (137548) * on Saturday December 08, 2012 @04:15AM (#42223783)

      Sure Nintendo has a bit of a reputation for being rather nannyish but come on, a 4 hour window for 18 rated games? It sounds completely absurd.

      I'm guessing this is either complete bullshit, or there's some parental control enabled by default buried in the options somewhere.

      This is only for BUYING that 18+ content, you then can play it at any time of the day you want.

      Which does not really make sense either, because surely the big problem is not kids buying 18+ games - kids PLAYING those games is bad. And if Daddy stays up late to buy his 18+ triple-X-rated games, those games will be on the console the next day when his kids want to play, so what is the point of this shopping restriction...

    • by jopsen (885607)
      Also wouldn't arbitrary restrictions like this be enough to sue Nintendo? In Europe I think it's likely that customer protection comes before the EULA. I hope someone sues...
      • by AK Marc (707885)
        Sue them, for what? Can I sue the store when they aren't open when I want milk or bread? Everything must be open 24 hours, or I'm suing.
        • by Svartalf (2997)

          Ah, but the store's open 24-7. This is more analogous to a Wal-Mart not being able to sell beer and wine in a municipality before and after a certain time because of local liquor laws...save that there's no laws involved with what Nintendo's doing there. So, you're not even close to analogous there.

          • by AK Marc (707885)
            There's nothing to stop Wal-Mart from not selling alcohol at all to anyone from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. because they check ID and that slows up lines in peak times or even "because I feel like it". The problem is someone is complaining that a store will not take their money in exchange for an item at a particular time. You are trying to make the analogy as not-close as possible to make it seem troublesome. I have been to places that stopped alcohol serving in times other than those required by law. They can d
      • by Jmc23 (2353706)
        Yes, I'm sure the government will allow you to sue them for trying to comply with government regulations.
  • That's not me stating that but nintendo europe by restricting the adult content for every user beyond 11pm (when presumably kiddy are in bed) to 3am. Meaning in their mind only kids use those console 3am to 11pm. (what happened to have a parental lock?). Thanks Nintendo I now know as an european I don't need to check your offering , because mostly by 11pm either I am going out, or I am asleep at home. And just a wild stab in the dark, but it will be the same for most adult having a job.
  • Television rules (Score:5, Interesting)

    by romiz (757548) on Saturday December 08, 2012 @04:14AM (#42223781)
    In France, there are rules preventing 18+ games from being sown on TV before 22:30. Even channels broadcasting on cable, satellite and dsl networks must respect those rules. That poses a problem to channels like Nolife TV [nolife-tv.com], specialized in video games, because a lot of games get a PEGI 18 rating - if the player is able to kill a human-looking enemy, and this is done in a somewhat realist context, it's PEGI 18. As a result, they must cram discussion of a lot of games in a small time slot.

    The rule was originally designed for movies, by the way, but the French movie rating is much more relaxed than the games rating. For example, the last James Bond movie did not get any restriction at all, it would be PEGI 18 if it were a game. But the movie rating boards in Europe use different standards.

    At then end; it looks like Nintendo took the most restrictive of those rules, and applied them to everyone, as if the WiiU was a TV channel. This will hurt them in more liberal markets. It does not help that Nintendo of Europe is headquartered in Germany, which has the most extreme restrictions on video games, and still requires a separate, different, ugly, enormous, unremovable logo on game packaging and game disks. And this is after the PEGI rating board mainly standardized on rules very close to the German ones...
  • Need I say more?

  • Bravo, Nintendo! For your next act, I would like to see a method and process for checking if kids have done their homework, before letting them play games. And a connection to the school system database, that lets kids with better grades play games longer. And an active webcam, that only lets kids who cleaned up their rooms play games. Messy room == No games, for you!

    Can a Nintendo drive the kids to soccer games, while the parents are off playing golf . . . ?

  • Ok, maybe not a sign of the end of civilization, but certainly society is not doing well when a game company has to act like a parent. Shouldn't this stuff be the job of the parents, not the game company?
    • by Jmc23 (2353706)
      Except that parents offload their responsabilities to Gov't and then gov't enacts stupid laws, and then some companies, like Nintendo, choose to follow these laws. You know, almost as if they're following the wishes of the parents.

      It's actually simple to change, just have parents act like parents.

      • Except that parents offload their responsabilities

        Well that is the crux of it. They actually can't offload their responsibilities, no more than the Government can give birth to their children. But how to have parents act like parents? There is the real problem. If there was a solution I'm sure we would have heard about it by now.

  • Oops, I'm at work between 11pm and 3am. On the other hand, I'm not in Europe and I don't play on Nintendo consoles, so it balances out nicely.

  • I'm an American, so this doesn't affect me outside of the fact that the liberals in our country will think it's a great idea in another three to five years. But, really, it's like Nintendo is trying to chase customers away. There are already parental controls, so by making it needlessly difficult to purchase games that are geared towards adults, Nintendo is just sending the (admittedly true) message that they have no interest whatsoever in adult gamers. Unless you're under 14, really like virtual bowling, o

    • by Holi (250190)

      Really? it's the liberals in America pushing the "think of the children" laws?

  • Rightttt..... like kids could never ever be able to stay up late enough to be able to make the purchase during that window!!! No, kids never stay up late or wake up in the middle of the night or do things that their parents or society would not want them to do... /sarcasm
    .
    Seriously, parental restrictions would make more sense. (Though I can say that I've had to undo the parental restriction setting on the DVR for my parents at least twice in the last six months.) Teens often don't want to get out of bed
    • Parental restrictions? You mean... you mean I have to do something to protect my kids from violent games. No way! Society has to take that burden off me, and I don't give a shit how much I inconvenience anyone by that because I am a parent! Am I not punished enough already?

  • I'm going to guess nobody at Nintendo said "hey, let's arbitrarily restrict content to certain regions at certain times! That's a GREAT idea!"

    Perhaps customers' ire should be directed at their regional and national governments whose laws go overboard in 'protecting the childrenz' (in this case, from staying up too late...)?

    • PEGI is similar to most other systems in place, it's mandatory to inform your customers, but it doesn't mean you cannot sell your items to whoever you please. And it doesn't mean that you cannot buy an "18" game for your 10 year old. Most of all, it doesn't mean you cannot go into a store as an adult at noon and buy whatever game you please.

      In short, I cannot see any kind of pressure on Nintendo to actually do what they did. My guess is that they want to polish their "family friendly" image and pander to th

  • by Opportunist (166417) on Saturday December 08, 2012 @10:27AM (#42224835)

    Teachers complaining about sleeping pupils

    "Every time a new part of the latest first person shooter comes out, half of my class doesn't show up at all and the rest is barely able to stay awake", Mrs. T, a high school teacher complains. Yesterday the long awaited Zombie shooter "Brains out" came out and it looks like it turned into reality on the Whatyoumaycallit High. Teenagers shuffling across the corridors from class to class, only to drop dead at their desks to catch up on some much needed sleep.

    "What' worst is that they don't just buy it, of course, after they bought it they immediately want to play it. And since they cannot buy it before 11pm, they play through the night and now... look at them! Sensible teaching is neigh impossible now, their only answer is 'Braaaaains'. I think Nintendo sure dropped the ball on that one"

    • by PPH (736903)

      Darwin at work.

      This will separate the losers who "have to" stay up late to party, get stoned, play video games or whatever from the students who have learned time management, good studying skills and have set some priorities in their lives. The losers will fall asleep during class and eventually fail. They will go on to jobs involving the flipping of burgers (or whatever it is you Europeans eat) while the genetically superior specimens will go on to college and higher paying careers.

      Unfortunately, this ap

      • So that's why geeks are usually so high on the payment ladder? Since we were outcasts from the start, we didn't bother trying to be part of the crowd and didn't subject to peer pressure...

  • by freaker_TuC (7632) on Saturday December 08, 2012 @11:02AM (#42225069) Homepage Journal

    The Nintendo "Curfew U"!

  • by nurb432 (527695) on Saturday December 08, 2012 @06:49PM (#42228595) Homepage Journal

    This is quite logical if you think about it. Get kids used to government agencies telling them what they can and cant do at certain hours 'for their protection', and they will grow up expecting it.

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