Windows 8's Arbitrary App Certification Rules Could Block Skyrim And Other Huge Games

from the arbitrary-guidelines-are-the-best dept

We have already mentioned that some game developers were having a hard time accepting Windows 8 as a viable gaming platform. The primary concern is with Microsoft's insistence on walling off its Metro UI and accompanying Windows Store. When a distribution system is walled off, new restrictions come along that limit the type of content that can be made available. As application and game developers learn more about the restrictions Microsoft plans to implement, their concern is growing.

Take for instance the recent discovery that Microsoft plans to limit the games made available through its Windows Store and Metro UI. In a broader piece on what a closed Windows 8 platform means for developers, Casey Muratori highlights one of the strict and ultimately contradictory restrictions on game content. Using the 2011 Game of the Year, Skyrim, as a hypothetical Windows 8 candidate, Casey asks the question, would it be allowed on the Windows store and Metro UI.
Because no software can ship on this future platform without it going through the Windows Store, the team that built Skyrim would have to send it to Microsoft for certification. Then Microsoft would tell them if they could ship it.

Do you know what Microsoft's answer would be?

I do. It would be "no".

This is not speculative; it is certain. Skyrim is a game for adults. It has a PEGI rating of 18. If you read the Windows 8 app certification requirements you will find, in section 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."

And that's the end of it. No Skyrim for the Windows Store, unless of course the developers go back and remove all the PEGI 18-rated content.
Unfortunately, Casey does not highlight the contradictory nature of this arbitrary rule -- what if a game has both an M rating by the ESRB and an 18 rating by PEGI, as Skyrim does. What will Microsoft do? Will it block the game entirely, region-restrict it to only ESRB regions or make an exception to its own rule and allow it for all the world? These are the kinds of questions that frustrate developers. Apple has had its fair share of arbitrary enforcement of content restrictions and you would think that Microsoft would at least attempt to learn from that example.

To further highlight the problem with this restriction, Casey lists four games that are in competition to be 2012's Game of the Year. Of those four games, none would be allowed on Windows 8 for the same reason, they got an ESRB M rating and a PEGI 18 rating. Microsoft has set itself up to exclude some of the best selling games of the future. Hardly a way to attract the support of developers.

Filed Under: certification, closed platforms, games, restrictions, windows
Companies: microsoft


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  1. identicon
    94 Echo, 20 Oct 2012 @ 2:55pm

    Re: Not so easy

    For game developers to make games for unix based operating systems it would require hours more of development. Developers can take several years to develop a game for PC, let alone making it work on PC, Xbox, and Play Station.

    For there to be a 4th OS and platform that needed games, even 2 PC based platforms, like Windows and unix OS's it would require entirely different forms of coding and hardware use. Unix as it is does not play nice with a lot of hardware developed for PC use such as GPU's and Ive heard of some motherboards and RAM having problems as well.

    I personally find that Ubuntu wont run for shit on my laptop while Windows (basically any version) runs blazing fast. Unix will never get the attention of game developers except for maybe Valve because they are looking into it. But Valve is only one developer and their games are not as hardcore as others (Monolith, DICE, EA, Bethesda to name a few). Valves games are fun but they are not as popular as many others and they are kind of genre locked in different types of First Person Shooters.

    Besides all this OS warfare, Windows will remain the number one OS for enthusiasts and hardcore gamers because the companies that develop the hardware and software we use focus on Windows.

    8 does have a terrible GUI choice for desktop and laptop use though. If you dont have a touch screen its awful.
    Metro works great on Zune and Windows Phone though.

    Who cares about Windows store not carrying games? Games For Windows, Steam, and Origin are there to fill that space and Microsoft knows this.

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