Earlier this week we received messages from readers that couldn't download ZombiU or Assassin's Creed III from the Wii U eShop. We tested this and received the same error message, which made it seem as if there were botched parental controls on the platform.

You cannot view this content.

The times during which this content can be viewed have been restricted.

As the comments in that article demonstrated, however, this appeared to be a deliberate policy from Nintendo of Europe rather than an error. Once we tested the eShop after 11pm it was possible to download either 18-rated title, and a customer services reply to a confused Wii U owner in Italy has shed light on the formal details of this policy.

Dear customer, 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.

In a follow up email when this was queried, Nintendo stated that this "is an additional precaution to make sure that minors cannot access content which is inappropriate for their age". That explains why it over-rides the age on the relevant Nintendo Network ID or the absence of any parental controls.

This issue only seems to exist in Europe, limiting 18-rated purchases from the Wii U eShop to a four hour window. What are your thoughts on this? Let us know in the comments below.

[source neogaf.com, via eurogamer.net]