In a bewildering move to ensure that no child can ever buy mature rated content on the Wii U eShop, Nintendo of Europe has blocked all access to 18+ video games on their digital store during daytime hours.
Between the hours of 11 PM and 3 AM each day adults and children alike are unable to watch trailers, view screenshots, or purchase video games that carry the 18+ rating. Regardless of age or the parental controls setting, any user attempting to access the forbidden content during the day receives the following message: “You cannot view this content. The times during which this content can be viewed have been restricted.”
The unique Wii U eShop restrictions were first discovered by an adult NeoGAF user who bumped up against the message while trying to access the ZombiU page on The Big N’s digital store. Believing it to be an error, the user emailed Nintendo and received the following response from a company representative:
“Dear customer, we would like to inform you that it is an additional precaution to make sure that minors cannot access content which is inappropriate for their age.”
“… 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…”
Given Nintendo’s fearful history of all things online, it’s not too surprising that they have restricted 18+ content on the European Wii U eShop in such a heavy handed fashion. It will be interesting to see if the day time restrictions stick around for the life of the console, or if grown adult Nintendo customers will be able to convince the company that they have taken things a step too far.
Regardless of the ridiculousness of Nintendo’s European Wii U eShop time restriction, I think the 11 PM to 3 AM operating hours miss the mark a bit for both parents and children. Speaking as a parent myself, I find it hard to stay up past 10 PM anymore and impossible to drag my kids out of bed for school in the morning. From my experience, if you move that window for mature content to between 5 AM and 6:45 AM it will guarantee that no child would ever be able to buy 18+ rated video games digitally.