Microsoft has changed its position on selling games rated "18" in the UK (under the PEGI system) via the Windows 8 marketplace. Previously the platform owner had made the decision by comparing the "adult" category used by the ESRB in North America – a category reserved for games with very strong sexual content or extreme violence.
But PEGI's 18 category is really the equivalent of the ESRB's "mature" rating, which is used for games like Mass Effect and Gears of War… The change will put the Windows 8 store in line with Steam and other digital distribution storefronts. The only caveat? According to Antoine Leblond, Windows' corporate VP of web services, the change will not be implemented until December.
"This is to give developers a heads up that that's where we're going," he said, "so they can have the peace of mind around developing the kinds of games that will have those ratings."
He also addressed concerns about the Windows 8 store locking out games – a point brought up by Minecraft creator Marcus Persson and Valve's Gabe Newell.
"We want the world of desktop apps to keep existing [outside of the Windows Store]. There's no reason to get in the way of that. Valve can keep being Valve."