Nintendo of Europe has finally explained the odd restrictions on 18+ content (which includes reading information, looking at screenshots, and watching video) in place on the European Wii U eShop. It turns out that German law is affecting when everyone (adults and children) can look at mature content. Last week Eurogamer found that it could not look at information on the eShop during certain times (11pm to 3am). This included info on the 18+ rated games ZombieU and Assassin's Creed 3. This morning Nintendo of Europe confirmed this fact to Eurogamer and explained that these restrictions are in place because of German regulations – regulations Nintendo of Europe is bound by because it is based in Germany.
"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 spokesperson told Eurogamer. "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(Unterhaltungssoftware Selbstkontrolle – Ed.): 22:00 UTC until 4:00 UTC] [PEGI: 23:00 UTC until 3:00 UTC]."
This will likely infuriate European Wii U owners in countries outside of German – like the UK – who shouldn't have German laws affecting what they can and can't do on their consoles.