The news below is one of the weirdest things we've heard in quite a long time. Eurogamer reports that Nintendo blocks access to 18+ rated content on the Wii U eShop outside the 11 pm - 3 am time window. The restriction means that European gamers are unable to buy games like ZombiU and Assassin's Creed III outside this awkward time window.
The issue first came to light after a NeoGAF user experienced the issue and contacted Nintendo of Italy's customer support.
"Dear customer," a Nintendo representative replied, "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 11pm - 3am time window."
Eurogamer has just tested this and it appears to be true. We were unable to access Assassin's Creed 3 information or buy ZombiU digitally.
"You cannot view this content," a message reads. "The times during which this content can be viewed have been restricted."
VG247 asked Nintendo for clarification and got to hear that the restriction of mature content is due to Germany's hard stand on mature game content. Nintendo of Europe is based in Frankfurt, so the company is bound by German law on the matter.
“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. Under German law, content rated 18+ must be made available only at night.
“Therefore the accessibility of 18+ content in Nintendo eShop is limited to [USK: 22:00 UTC until 4:00 UTC] [PEGI: 23:00 UTC until 3:00 UTC].”