German law blocking Wii U content in Europe

Youth protection regulation mandates 18+ content should only be available during evening hours in Europe.

Last week, it was revealed that 18+ Wii U eShop content could not be purchased until after 11 p.m. in Europe. Now, an explanation has been provided. Nintendo of Europe told Eurogamer that the restrictions are a result of a German youth protection law.

"At Nintendo we always aim to provide a safe gaming experience for fans of all ages and ensure that we comply with applicable legal age restriction requirements across Europe," a Nintendo representative said.

"Legal age restriction requirements vary across a number of European countries. Since Nintendo of Europe is based in Germany, Nintendo eShop is complying with German youth protection regulation which therefore applies to all our European markets," the statement continued. "Under German law, content rated 18+ must be made available only at night."

This means Wii U owners in Europe are only allowed to purchase 18+ rated content between the hours of 11 p.m. and 3 a.m. The Wii U launched in Europe on November 30.

Written By

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.

Discussion

292 comments
jark888
jark888

That's gotta be suck. Good thing, many of us here are not in Europe. 

kavadias1981
kavadias1981

We've been having a big debate about this on CVG (since most of us are Brits). Some blame Nintendo, some blame the Germans. Me? Hmm... Nintendo or Germany? Have a guess. 

tgwolf
tgwolf

GERMANS ARE STINKING SMART! Except why isn't it just banned altogether...? Uh oh, don't make me take back my compliment...

ads_legend
ads_legend

Why? Kids are still going to play it regardless of when you're 'allowed' to purchase it. This only creates problems and solves none.

starcrafthenry
starcrafthenry

I live in the USA, so luckily this doesn't effect me...yet. I hope this problem is resolved quickly. Somebody mentioned IP filtering/blocking out users based on country, and that sounds like the most reasonable and plausible idea. You may be thinking that this policy doesn't effect you because you don't live in Europe, but you're wrong. This mature content block in such a huge area is going to discourage developers from making mature games for the eShop period. Why should a developer create games for the Wii U eShop and have a limited audience, when neither XBLA or the PSN Store impose such restrictions? C'mon Nintendo, get your act together, or the way of Sega you will soon go.

JimmeyBurrows
JimmeyBurrows

Because the parents that will let their kids near things that are rated 18 are really big on making them go to bed... How much money was wasted on this law?

TTDog
TTDog

Got to love the Germans... couldn't take over Europe by force, now they're trying to do it with draconian legal procedure instead.

bobbetybob
bobbetybob

Hopefully it's fixed in a few months. Right now it isn't much of an issue unless you enjoy paying £10-£15 more for retail games, but once some good mature downloadable games or demos come out then it'll be a bit annoying.

Alucard1475
Alucard1475

Looks like Wii U will be a short lived console.

RS13
RS13

Oh that explains it.  Wait no it doesn't.  Why did you set up in Germany?  The "Federal Department for Media Harmful to Young Persons" has existed in some form or another since 1953 (originally it had a different name and dealt only with writings).  Nintendo, why would you set up in a country that clearly might restrict you in this way?  This isn't new.  (In fact, so far as I can tell they've been cracking down on video games since at least 2003.)  Second, how does a german law determine what you can do in Ireland.  That needs some splainin'.  Third, are you planning on fighting this in the courts?  There's never been a case like this, so there's at least a case to be made.  Fourth, isn't there any way around this?  Can't you just set up a room full of servers in the UK, declare that your HQ and upload everything from there (while still doing everything else from Germany)?  Maybe you're stuck with all this, but saying "oh German law" certainly doesn't explain everything.

 

farcorners
farcorners

you have topless stripper shows on german network TV after 11pm, and call me now dirty phone call ads, where the womean are 95% nude. I saw one where the woman was about 65, so at least they cater for all sorts. Don't know how protected their youth are.

hippiesanta
hippiesanta

because wii u is a kids friendly console ...... 

bmart970
bmart970

Because that will stop everyone.

soulless4now
soulless4now

Law or no law, it's still silly regardless. 

nurnberg
nurnberg

We see the different cultures between different countries...  If they did something like this in Canada, people would be furious.  In Europe they seem used to that kind of garbage so I bet people won't even complain.

nurnberg
nurnberg

As gamers, we need to show solidarity to take a stand against oppressive anti-gamer laws in other countries, even if they don't affect us.

Megavideogamer
Megavideogamer

But how does a law in Germany apply to all of Europe?

nurnberg
nurnberg

How is this even legal?  Germany decided that adult gamers don't have a right to buy mature content during most of the day, in the name of "protecting the children".  This is what I call discrimination against gamers.  Not all gamers are children, but according to Germany, they are.  Adult gamers do not have rights, according to Germany?

nurnberg
nurnberg

I find it funny when Europeans brag about how "progressive" they are and how supposedly they have more "freedom" than North America (according to them the US is a police state), yet I keep hearing stories like this one where human rights are blatantly ignored.  I live in Canada by the way.  Europe : you can keep your "progress" to yourself!

nurnberg
nurnberg

Apparently the Nazis are still in power in Germany after all those years.

kbaily
kbaily

Gotta love America and that first Amendment. 

alexLmx6
alexLmx6

Those zany Germans are at it again.  It's kind of funny how German policy seems to be the polar opposite of America...  In America, you can gut people with chainsaws until the cows come home, but if you dared to even show 1/10th of an areola you'll be burnt at the stake.  Whereas Germany has such strict laws against violence, but just try to find a German porno that isn't kinky as hell.  

 

It seems to me though that civilized people make love not war..  So maybe the Germans are just a little further along.  Actually no, now I'm just confused about everything.

 

No censorship, or whatever this is, please.

Lawdog1521
Lawdog1521

So... German law now dictates what happens in the rest of Europe?

 

... If I lived in France I'd be getting nervous. 

hadlee73
hadlee73

Go to London, Nintendo EU. Then you can go to the pub during your lunch break.

Hulksmash77
Hulksmash77

Alright, well this makes total sense, as a person who lived in europe for 8 years, this is ridiculous. European TV shows sex scenes from R (17) movies during the day on almost any station, but buying M games (17) is just crossing the line.GIve me a break. Europe and Australia have jumped on the bandwagon that games are the supreme most evil influence in a child's life...what a bunch of liberal crap.Maybe if these kids had better PARENTS and maybe TWO of them, they would end up a lot better and out of trouble. In the US, almost 80% of all robberies and thefts are done from men who grew up in single-parent homes. NOW that's a note-worthy statistic.

-Jonce-
-Jonce-

OK, I think I've got this straight. This is a German law and not an EU law but it's gonna affect me in the UK and the rest of Europe because Nintendo is based Gernany.

 

Perhaps Nintendo of Europe could gentley wave 2 fingers towards Berlin and bugger off to Brussels or London.

SolidTy
SolidTy

Is this law applicable to PSN, Steam, XBLA, GOG, etc?

Mr_Big_Boss
Mr_Big_Boss

Either Germany needs to change its laws or Nintendo needs to take their jobs to another country.

alrepairs
alrepairs

Can't everyone just look forward to PS4, 720, and Wii U equally with awesome?

 

What is the purpose of flaming?

 

Hell, I look forward to 4 HDMI inputs being used on my TV in the next 4 years.

 

1 - PS4

2 - 360 (Next 3 years, 720 due to expense)

3 - Wii U

4 - PC

 

jark888
jark888

 @ads_legend You have your point. This measure may only minimize the risk of exposure to adult contents.

TTDog
TTDog

 @nurnberg More a case of it being the WiiU so the number of people who actually give a fig is in single figures.

therebemonsters
therebemonsters

 @nurnberg i'm from portugal and i never heard of this piece of crap law before. it's just nintendo being nintendo. it doesn't happen in other consoles.

Paul2004
Paul2004

 @nurnberg Im Scottish and this is the first ive heard of it, prob the same for the rest of Europe aswell. If it was tried here then i can see it being shot down fast, just because the germans have this law doesnt mean the rest of us accept it ;)

alchie11
alchie11

 @Megavideogamer As it says, "Since Nintendo of Europe is based in Germany, Nintendo eShop is complying with German youth protection regulation which therefore applies to all our European markets..." - In layman's terms, Nintendo EU (and presumably, the servers too) is located in Germany, therefore, they need to follow the laws of that land (German laws). To comply with that law changes, a setting they probably have set to apply to all countries, instead of individual, is switched off. Therefore disabling all EU countries from that content. It really is Nintendo's fault because they could have just had a IP blocking mechanism than making the eShop settings apply for the entire continent.

TTDog
TTDog

 @Lawdog1521 Poland must be crapping themselves... if most of the population hadn't already moved to the UK.

Hulksmash77
Hulksmash77

These countries are just trying to find something to blame for their kid's behavior rather than themselves.

 

alrepairs
alrepairs

 @SolidTy No, their servers originate in America, while NoE is in Germany.  There is no law to ban server access in Europe therfore, child protection law does not apply to SCoE, M$.

jark888
jark888

 @alrepairs I don't think the next Xbox will call Xbox 720 since 360 probably derived from 360 degree which imply multipurpose functions. 

Albaficas
Albaficas

 @alrepairs wii HD is NOT a next gen console stop trying finding excuses....

 

wii HD should have been release along the ps3-360

CincoToes
CincoToes

 @alrepairs Wait, you're saying the 720 will have to wait due to expense and not ps4? Wasn't ps3 six bills when it came out?

alchie11
alchie11

 @therebemonsters  @nurnberg Probably a small clause in some German law that Nintendo EU decided to uphold on because, let's be honest, Nintendo's consoles since N64 have been made for children. So, they don't want children accessing adult content - e.g. Mass Effect, which those same children have probably placed on the PC...

jakerscythe
jakerscythe

 @Hulksmash77 Don't bunk all European countries together like that. Especially not in regards to an article specifically about Germany.

CloWnCircus
CloWnCircus

 @Hulksmash77 "Europe and Australia have jumped on the bandwagon that games are the supreme most evil influence in a child's life...what a bunch of liberal crap"

 

Dude, don't put all the eggs in the same basket,  I'm from an European country and we (Portugal) don't have any censorship on games. (And we still get to see titties everywhere, because, come on, it's just tits ffs)

SolidTy
SolidTy

 @alrepairs Hopefully Nintendo takes note then.

 

3rd party developers aren't going to want to read this is Nintendo's policy as this can affect sales of their games.

calanorn
calanorn

 @Albaficas  @alrepairs I see no reason why the Wii U is not next gen? completely new way to play games check  a newer better version of the wii.. yup so how is it not next gen or is it only on a it has to be uber glorious with all these spangly expensive features and shizzle to qualify?

 

so either the PS4 or next box will not be next gen depending on which one has the lower spec because obviously if its got the lower spec its not next gen right?

 

Ohh my pc outshines this gen and by the time the nextbox and ps4 come out it will still trounce them so I guess there are no "next gen"

 

I wish some people would get of there high horse next gen does NOT mean amazing advances over current hardwar its the next generation of "A" console if you want to classify a gen only by huge margins as time progresses you are going to be more and more disappointed...

 

Celsius765
Celsius765

 @Albaficas  @alrepairs bro just let ppl enjoy their console in peace. Can't we all just get along. and idk tech for consoles was pretty expensive years ago

Kenshin0011
Kenshin0011

 @CincoToes  Sony cannot afford to release a console that expensive again, so the Nextbox is going to be more expensive than the Omni (PS4)

Hulksmash77
Hulksmash77

 @CloWnCircus 

Yeah, that's my point, I lived in Portugal for 8 years. That's my point, you can watch boobs and sex and graphic violence and language on TV all day, so, why are european countries putting such restriction on games more than on TV???