We've reported on the less-than-ideal nature of global age ratings in the past, and what they mean for indie developers attempting to make a living on Nintendo's systems. Releasing a game internationally isn't a simple matter of pushing a button; age ratings must be granted in every territory which enforces them, and that means submitting the game for approval multiple times - a process which not only takes time, but also costs a considerable sum of money. In short, the developer is losing money on the game before it has even had chance to generate any revenue.
We've already seen publishers holding back titles for release in certain regions due to this situation, and it would now appear that things have become so dire that some studios are ditching the German market - an event which would be particularly embarrassing for Nintendo, as its European HQ is based in the country.
We should point out that the developer who has tipped us off wishes to remain anonymous, but we can tell you they are a widely-respected member of the Nintendo indie development scene and have already created and released multiple well-received titles on the eShop.
According to our source, over the past months there have been secret European developer meetings to discuss the current state of the eShop. 'Most' indie developers are struggling to sell over 3,000 units in the lifetime of an eShop game, and as a result many are dropping support for Nintendo's consoles. However, this issue isn't just impacting small-scale indie developers - our source claims that larger download publishers are starting to drop Germany because they are not able to recoup the cost of earning a USK rating - a similar situation to what happens in Australia, which sees a reduced number of eShop games due to rating costs.
Of course, not every eShop game can be a smash-hit, but if this is impacting larger publishers then it means there will be less software for 3DS and Wii U owners to enjoy. But what can Nintendo do about it? The current age ratings are outside of its control - they are there to protect children from harmful content, and the approval process is something that naturally takes time and effort, hence the need to charge for it; Nintendo cannot force gamers to buy indie titles, either. The flipside of the argument is that Nintendo could explore a similar policy to Apple, skipping ratings agencies in favour of its own internal system. Another option is a quicker, more unified global ratings process recently adopted by Google Play - called IARC (International Age Rating Coalition) ratings, which only requires an online questionnaire submission that covers all territories. Nintendo is reportedly in line to adopt this standard for the eShop in future.
What are your thoughts on this situation? What action can be taken to ensure that publishers don't have to ignore certain markets when they launch their eShop games? Sound off in the comments section below to tell us what you think.
Another example of bureaucracy killing a potential market. I’m hoping for something as simple as google or apple are doing. Just bypass those expensive barriers - age ratings are indications, not absolutes.
"Nintendo is reportedly in line to adopt this standard for the eShop in future."
Good to know.
So basically at the moment it's one rating for the United States, two for Europe, and one for Australia? It's not an ideal system, really. The adoption of the IARC across Nintendo's digital storefronts would help, but there's still the costs of localization to look at for Europe, especially the French/German ones. That's something that often delays games.
My money is on it being Nicalis.
@erv age ratings aren't indicators, they are legally enforceable in the uk at least.
@Tsurii897 exactly they should come out with it at least if people knew what games they had on the eshop we'd have an indication as to how much truth there is to this.
@Tsurii897 exactly they should come out with it at least if people knew what games they had on the eshop we'd have an indication as to how much truth there is to this.
@arronishere They are not legally enforceable for download content otherwise what Apple / Steam / Google are doing would have landed them in court by now.
Jools Watsham? Yeah the first one came to my mind.
Edit: Renegade Kid
Germany should really use PEGI like the rest of Europe does.
Nintendo can't adopt IARC quicker in my opinion. It would help Nindies like myself... One of the problems is that getting the required rating for release is free in some territories but very costly in others. Plus, it's a very time consuming process!
I am from Germany. The german public has a lot of angst (tbh about almost everything) regarding the content in media, especially in video games, and its possible harm to the youth. Over the last decade, the angst calmed down and most ratings now are reasonable and old / wrong rating are also getting corrected.
That in mind, the german USK rating system is almost an institution of its own and might not be replaced any time soon. Even if other rating system, like PEGI, seem to be superior.
Around November last year, I contacted CIRCLE Entertainment about some of their titles not coming to germany, and the struggle to deal with the overly expensive and complicated USK rating system was one large reason for this.
But germany doesn't care, as long as they can slap their ugly, oversized stickers on everything,
@Tsurii897 You can't blame an Indie developer for wanting to avoid any hate from the fans they so desperately need. It already says that they struggle to make a living on Nintendo because of this problem. At least they told someone so that we can be informed, not just have this leak and be some Nindie conspiracy story.
Meanwhile Azure Striker Gunvolt did so well a sequel has been announced.
Don't complain, make better games and they will sell.
Their problem is the eshop is too competitive. Look at this week: Super Street Fighter 4 for 8 euros. How can they compete with that if they release short indies games for the same price?
I bet it's either Nicalis or Renegade Kid behind this leak.
Both of them are really lacking in the European releases while in Americas they release all their games.
Seriously, the gaming business needs just one global rating system. Hopefully that IARC could be it. It really pisses me off that not all games get released in all territories.
Maybe this is what happened to OutRun 3D in Australia...? At this point I'll take any reason. Any.
I'm pretty sure Australia is in the process of going to an automated rating system for independent developers along the lines of what apple does. This should alleviate some costs releasing down here.
It really cheeses me off that us Aussies miss out so many games that I'd actually like to purchase. It's not just smaller Indie publishes either, we haven't gotten any of the last wave of Sega 3d Classics.
Good. do it. I live in aus & I'm sick of missing out based on what a bunch of pencil pushing office jockey-dinosaurs say.
"The current age ratings [...] are there to protect children from harmful content"
Well, in theory they are, in practice things are looking quite different:
1) Age ratings are borderline pointless in a digital age, also retailers themselves care little to not at all who is forking over the cash at the register. There have been multiple field tests on this, but from my own experience, I can say, that the big chains hardly care and any small games business simply cannot afford to send home any under-18 or under-16 customer empy handed ....
2) The system was meant to protect children, but it also very much a tool of censorship by now, some of it is due to publishers intentionally censoring themselves going for a rating as low as possible, to prevent any potential harm to sales, and some of it due to the fact that even 18+ content is not free in what can be displayed and what not. If content is marked "adult only" any changes demanded by a ratings board are simply censorship, and nothing else.
3) The system has improved I think in recent years, but it is still opaque and highly arbitrary not to mention that it operates by different yardsticks when it comes to games rather than, let's say, movies. That there is huge aspect of subjectivity to the whole process despite guidelines, goes with out saying.
This makes it hard for publishers to anticipate what content will be "greenlit" and whatnot, increasing transaction cost for access to only one national market.
In short, the system is anachronistic, it's working beyond it's intended scope, with (hopefully) unintended consequences, it in part fails to achieve it original goals by not being enforced, it's arbitrary and even unfair at times, as well es economically harmful.
At the very least, the national systems have to be done away with, in favour of a European one, at best we will find a superior more-or-less-objective globally-accepted standart, that will actually be enforced.
as part of a smallish indie team (not the source in the article), i'd like to pitch in and say that console marketplaces accepting IARC would be awesome news indeed-we probably wouldn't have had to wait for years to see games (1001 spikes, i'm looking at you) on 3ds in europe if IARC ratings were enough to launch a game here.
For us it's not even that much about the cost of rating -though that certainly stings a bit- but that every ratings process can take a lot of time and manpower, often taking away weeks that could be better spent making games.
I can only echo what @ollibald has said. It's often not the costs but the time it takes to do it. Although that should be less of an issue for publishers rather than small developers. The exception is Australia, they need to lower their fees drastically!
We had the same choice. At least Germany is a major market... And we didn't have to pay for another usk rating for flowerworks on the WiiU. But Australia is at least 10 times worse. Market a fraction the size and rating costs many times higher. So Germany... Sure, some risk but not much. Australia? Not a hope in hell.
If this results in the eradication of that awful USK logo then good. It's basically one of the reasons I'm not getting the special editions of Splatoon & Yoshi's Woolly World as the covers look fugly and totally spoilt by them!
IARC on Android at least is shockingly easy to do as a developer. It seems strange that the Wii U/3DS would have one rating system while smartphones another. What's the difference exactly? The only thing that worries me is that the politicians get wind of IARC and clamp down on it, making devs there pay too. Remember that it is the job of these committees to perpetuate more bureaucracy, if everyone goes IARC they'll have to find another way to squeeze money out of the system.
@Quirky If I understand the IARC system correctly, it's not going to replace the other ratings, it's just going to be a mechanism to generate ratings. So a developer fills in the IARC questions and out pops a ESRB, PEGI, USK rating at the other end.
Unless I've misunderstood
Can't blame the developers if they can't make any money. There should be a list of games that are being dropped or not sold. I like indie games and I'd like to know which company's are struggling than each other. Simply to purchase from the company that is most disable.
Hi there. Just a heads up. It is actually illegal, thats why when you submit an App (game App) there is a rating system. All Google and Apple have done is cut out the middle man and put the responsibility completely on the developer/publisher. If your app contains inappropriate material and is accessed be a minor with the incorrect age indicator, then you are liable (not Google or Apple) to the laws of the land. This is also true in the UK. You can still use those other rating boards but as you can see they cost (sometimes a small fortune) to check your game and then you can still apply the rating to the app, but it only covers that specific region.
That is so true, but the developer is no longer liable in that circumstance.
Age ratings should be applied by the developer as they know the game and its content. It should be their (developers/publishers) choice to use an external auditor and not a mandatory cost, as that affects the cost implications for the games development and deployment. Each territories rules and costs are different, so what works in one territory might not work in another...
@FX102A The giant USK rating sticker has almost put me off a number of Special Editions, but I can just about stand it to get cool stuff. Hopefully they'll reduce the size of it, at least.
I would certainly do the same. I would only consider releasing in Germany, Australia and the like if sales in my other regions were sufficient to afford it.
Honestly I'm not surprised. This is a hurdle I'm worried about when I finish my own project on Steam.
Not surprised. In addition to certain governmental fees and regional regulations, it feels to me like there are about 300 new games released every week. Sadly, I've begun to feel completely overwhelmed by the entire video game industry. Sorry to the "indie" developers, but the market has become so completely oversaturated that I just don't even bother with very many games from new companies anymore (Shovel Knight being the main exception) unless there is an actual physical release. I STILL cannot get myself to purchase digital only content.
age rating system are useless and nintendo should not force developpers to buy them
age rating system will never educate parents, i bet there are more people playing gta of cod under the age limit than above
about the costs, it's a shame that there is no adult category available for free : the developpers could at least have the choice to target adult gamers (or to boycott the system) without needing to pay some "expert" to rate their game
Ahh, gotta love the USK. One of the most broken, irrational and barely functioning rating systems on this planet.
And an overpriced one too. You basically pay a trucklod of cash to get your product crippled. Well, as long as it is a game, movies can do everything they want, as they are "art", and you may not censor art....
Seriously though, this has hurt the industry for quite some time now.
But there is just no reasoning with our government. They are blind, deef and, well, stupid.
As a consumer and citizen...you are basically powerless to help out here.
And thats a "wonderfull feeling", let me tell you.
@RainbowGazelle Or just put it on a wrapper!
Well thanks USK..for nothing. There have been a couple of games in the past listed in the European download press release but aren't available in Germany, but so far that were only sh***y games.
On Wii U at least you can just create another user in a different country to be able to purchase the games unavailable to you. It is not ideal splitting purchases across multiple NNID. Especially as it could have implications for Club NintenDeNA *or whatever the new membership scheme is).
You can do the same on the 3DS, if you never linked an NNID to it (this is actually a reason why I'm so annoyed at Nintendo insisting on having an NNID for so much these days on a 3DS, it is also changing the rules halfway through the game).
All that said the 3000 sales part is a really worrying part. As that can be compared to post 2009 WiiWare.
@1wiierdguy @Mario_Fart Initially the games were not rated for Australia (maybe the ratings were submitted and the ACB took too long). Looking at the ACB now they are rated now (including the unreleased Streets of Rage 2) so I really have no idea why they can't come out.
@Tsurii897 that's completely understandable up till this article I actually had no idea different countries could get different games other than the broad us/eu type regions.hopefully it's nothing too high quality and you don't miss out on much ,seems totally ridiculous you have to wait n see.
Didnt see this option presented in the article - Nintendo simply pays the fee for the developer to Germany and Australias rating board, and then recoups its money from the first sales of the game.
Gamers win - more game options
Nintendo wins - looks good helping out devs, can pick and choosr which vompanies to pay the fee for, recoups its money via sales, and then makes more money ad the game continues to sell as Im guessing Nintendo gets a cut of all game sales
This seems like the most obvious easy solution but I couldnt find it in the article.
Rating boards across the globe worked together to develop IARC. Do you honestly think Politicians are not awere of its existence? Lol
@RainbowGazelle They've enlarged the logo only a few years ago. They won't suddenly reduce its size again.
@Einherjar Lol, what? First of all, the USK is waaaaay cheaper than PEGI and the Australian rating system. Secondly, they don't censor stuff. Publishers do it by themselves to avoid high age ratings or to secure they receive one. The only problem is, that the BPjM can index software that doesn't have an age rating. Otherwise Publishers wouldn't feel forced to self-censor their games. That's not the fault of the USK, though.
@McoobabWATP Up until now, there are only couple of games missing from the German eShop. Most of those are crap, some are not.
Hope Nintendo goes up the Steam or Apple route. No barriers. No censorship. All games in all territories. No extra cost for developers, publishers and consumers.
Germany missed out on a few minor WiiWare games in the past, but on Wii U it's more than 10 games already, great ones such as Master Reboot and Ittle Dew included!
@rjejr Why would Nintendo ever pay the USK costs for e.g. Riding Stable 3D?
@arronishere Nah I reckon it's Shin'en...
Also why don't Nintendo scrap the terrible "have-to-sell-3000-copies-before-developers-receive-any-commission" rule. It's a shocking way to treat developers that are trying to support your consoles - which amazingly - don't have much support in the first place!
I do wonder what planet Nintendo are on sometimes...
Well this sucks, can't they just not release the games in Germany and Australia?
It's hardly news that it's difficult to make a living as an independant studio from releasing only on Nintendo download services.
It's hardly news that it's difficult to make a living from making video games in the first place.
Germany's a little bit extra backwards when it comes to video games, though. If they truly believe that they are a little bit smarter than most others, and that German mothers are good at making choices for their children what software is concerned, then they shouldn't need to pester developers as hard as they do.
@RCMADIAX I think you'll find they do, or at the very least did have and I'm sure it still exists which is why the article above mentions it:
"'Most' indie developers are struggling to sell over 3,000 units in the lifetime of an eShop game, and as a result many are dropping support for Nintendo's consoles."
Also - http://kotaku.com/5219100/how-many-copies-does-a-wiiware-game-need-to-sell
@scamander Then im pretty glad that Capcom and Microsoft self censored themselfes by not releasing Dead Rising / Gears of War over here to retain their age rating of "nope".
If you threaten a publisher with an outright ban, im sure censorship is completely voluntary.
And how about the "ban by default" system, that bans any sequel should some game in the series have been banned previously ?
Or that it takes decades untill you can request another rating, should you recieve a ban ? It took 17 years for freakin Doom to be "allowed" around here.
Or the attempt of the USK to outright ban imports of Software not rated by them ?
And dont even get me started on the BPjM...
Trust me, im one of the few people who praises companies for their efforts to protect children. But this company is outright blind to the fact, that not all games are meant to be for children.
So yeah, i overreacted in regards to the USK. But the whole system is severely flawed and overcomplicated.
@rjejr It's asking them to take the risk though. They're going to naturally avoid doing that when they can.
@Ralek85 Interesting post, I enjoyed reading it. ☺️
If a government wants to regulate something they should pay for it. That's what taxes are for.
@RCMADIAX That's cool if true but who is your source or reference?
Also for what reason does this article mention it for if not for that purpose?
Maybe someone from NL can clarify this?
Uh, just out of curiosity, this doesn't mean that there will be any indie games coming at all for nintendo, does it? If this is coming down to this, nintendo really will need to step up their work for their next console, or else it is going to struggle just as bad as the Wii U is right now, giving them more problems into the next 6-7 years...please tell me that this isn't the case.
@Fletcher-Mobot So you are fine with an extra tax on video games?
@Topic: The USK system works very good in Germany, but just for retail games. Children have to show the ID card when buying a game or movie.
For small digital downloads, the system is not needed in that way. But that's the law in Germany at the moment. Nintendo is very children orientated and always for the protection of young people. So it would be false avoiding German laws and losing this reputation.
@RCMADIAX I see, well in that case I'll retract my out-of-date statement!
Good news Nintendo no longer enforce that, my intentions were only to support developers!
Yep, I've seen a lot of devs stop releasing their games in Germany cause of the huge rating cost. I myself am now going to release my game, ZaciSa, in Europe (including Germany) in next few months and will see how things goes.
No risk, no reward. All business is a risk. How much money can Nitneod make if all game devs stop publishing their games on eShop?
No games equal no % cut, and if you lose enough dev support maybe no hardware sales either, and then you lose your own game sales.
If Ntineod what's to remain a hardware manufacturer it is going to need to take some risks.
That's the German nanny state for you, big government and bureaucracy run amuck.
It's sad to see German commenters here being mad at these small developers instead of our government...that's one of the many reason why USK, Gema, BPjM, GEZ will never go away.
That's a shame. I think Nintendo is doing what it can, but maybe releases just need to be spaced out more. I mean Swords and Soldiers II has a rather serious price point (for some) and is coming out a week before Splatoon - not great timing, though a different target market - and at the same time as Paper Mario and Kirby's Epic Yarn. Maybe Nintendo can help space out releases better (assuming they don't already) and that could improve sales?
A single ratings board is also long overdue, but the main issue is that different places have different restrictions on violent content. In the UK a head butt in a film can make a 12 into a 15 rating, just ask George Lucas; I rather doubt countries will give up their right to enforce stricter controls on content to suit local mores. Having said that I don't understand why PEGI isn't good enough to cover the EU - I mean why does it exist if everyone isn't using it?
@datamonkey Yeah, that rule was for Wiiware. Matter of fact, developers praised Nintendo years ago for dropping it
@rjejr So the risk is to drop a lot of money on these games that don't sell well anyway?
@LztheQuack - Yes. Yes it is.
@bitleman AzurebStrike Gynvolt also had tremendous backing amd alot of talent. Most indies are bootstrapping. The majority of the quality indie titles you see are self fundedvwith very linited resources. People ought to drop the fantasy that the game just becomes beautiful and perfect by magic. Its a SERIOUS investment that many cant afford.
@RCMADIAX thats what I was thinking. This ges against the grain of what was publushed at GDC in regards to eShop averages. In a nutshell for those who havent seen it the the following figures were shown at GDC this year regarding wii u eshop sales:
300-1,000 for low end
1,000-10,000 for mid and
10,000 - 60,000 for high. (Source below)
The low end of this spectrum on Wii U is the low end games not to call out titles but The Letter, Meme Run, Ava and Avior, etc. for perspective.
I think the larger issue is that many first time developers hoping to make a living arent and that shouldnt be hard to believe. Frankly no one "deserve" to succeed - renegade kid and wayforward, two tribes, etc have been around for a long time and are still humble indies. What is there to say when a college kid who decides to release his senior project isnt able to live off the eshop???
As someone already said, I think that the article is about Renegade Kid .... And I think the game is Xeodrifter: it was due in April on 3DS and PsVita but is still missing.
@jakysnakydx Absolutely. Though I am an older gamer and enjoy older games, a game that's basically a prettier or slightly enhanced version of something I've seen before doesn't interest me. If I want to play a game like Zelda or Mega Man, I'll play Zelda or Mega Man.
I think a lot of developers are coming out with too much "me too" and not enough original (and good) ideas or they're lacking in the design department - no amount of Nintendo promotion is going to help you with that.
This is why A billion copies of RE4 in Europe ( especially Germany ) are all going to the fire. The problem with "Tv toys" in Europe everything has to be family friendly and if you want to play real videogames you have to own an computer/pc/Amiga/Cellphone device, or something along those lines.
@ederenzi78 Nope. Xeodrifter is coming out in all of EU (including Germany), as well as AU and NZ.
Great! Thank you Jool. I really appreciate it!
I don't think Renegade Kid is the source since he's usually positive about Nintendo
@RenegadeJools Unless you're hiding something from us?
One source claims that he or she learned about eShop Publishers dropping releases in Germany due to certain circumstances. Who on this earth is actually meant to believe that this might have taken place during "secret European developer meetings to discuss the current state of the eShop"?
Better check back with multiple sources - that is, of course, if any other members of this secret society watching over the eShop can be tracked down.
@RCMADIAX Yes, it is. At least as long as your game is bigger than 250mb. Indie games with a budget below 200,000€ cost 1,155€ for certification plus additional 1,050€ for every other platform with PEGI. If the budget for the game was higher you can add ~1000€ to that. With USK you pay 1,200€ for one system and additional 300€ for every other system the game will be released on. So for most Indie-developers the USK should be cheaper than PEGI... which is pretty impressive if you consider, that the USK at least play the games they rate, other than PEGI.
@Einherjar I'm not arguing with you regarding the BMjP or German youth protection in general, because I agree with you. The system needs an overhaul. All I'm saying is, that all of your criticism is not really the fault of the USK. They don't have much flexibility with their decisions, as there are exact guidelines what kind of content may not get an USK rating.
Well, everyone else said anything that I could, so...yeah.
I guess a European release will come later for my game. A shame, really, because it's my home country (UK) yet I won't even be able to release it for a while. Please Nintendo, adopt the IARC system.
@scamander Yeah, to be honest, i figured that out a little too late on my part.
At this point, the USK is basically just the company that puts these little stickers on game boxes based on standards given by the BPjM and our youth protection rights.
In fact, the USK "saved" more games from bannings in the last couple of years then anything else (once given an age rating, a title cant be outright banned anymore)
Like i said, i was an overreacting idiot, who didnt do his homework
Next time, i do my research first and maybe then rant a little laugh
@RCMADIAX @RenegadeJools How much does it cost to get your game rated? I don't see how it can cost 1000's of £$€ JUST to play a game and give a report!?
@RCMADIAX That is true. Squeeky wheel as they say. I don't believe those other two are doing well... (hallelujah) but if they are this coincides with the data - highly publicized. What we can say though is that those who aren't putting in due diligence (or get an freak negative press blitzh, a la Spikey Walls).
There are SOO many elements that go into whether a game is successful or not and I just want young developers to know that having a good product isn't actually enough. There are hundreds of great games that go untouched and a lot of bad ones that become million sellers because of freak or sometimes even planned reasons. Marketing is more than ads and web banners... like @Sean_Aaron said as well though, a game's success can be attributed as far as the idea itself.
It sounds like a racket to me. Why not just go like the Apple and Android market? Parents seem to have no issues at all letting their kids play on those platforms. Those also seem to be platforms of choice just recently. A game programmer just writes and uploads the game to those markets. How hard is that? Its definitely the Wild west in those markets as far as safety goes for your kids. But the facts are more people are downloading there, than here in the Eshop
It's soooo frustrationg to read about game releases here, get excited and then on thursday find out it's not in the Eshop. Itlle Dew was one of those examples. And unlike Apple or Sony, Nintendo does not just let me switch to another eshop. Very very frustrating.
you must pay 1200 Euros to the USK for testing a game in Germany,on one Platform.for the second it becomes 300 Euros.
Is it real so much money?? if the game is selled for 10Euros they only need to sell more than 120 to get the costs back and because its digital its realy cheap 2 deliver. idk wtf is this serious or u guys dont want 2 accept that maybe a gamestation with 32gb memory in the PREMIUM Version is not very good for DLL games.LOL
@hansguenther That isn't a really good way to think about this. That example might work for a $10 game (though with Nintendo fee it will be closer to 171+ sold games to get even from rating alone).
For smaller games, like mine that will be closer to 3 euros when it launches. 1200 Euros is a lot. If I had to pay that much for my current rating, it would take at least 571 sold copies to earn back my rating fee for that single country. That in taking into effect Nintendo's cut. That is a lot for a single country. For a small indie like me and others, that is way too much. And for the equivalent $1300+ in USD, that might not do well.
Luckily my game was small enough in size (less then 350MB is the rule I think) , that my rating cost was only 300 Euros. So I only need to sell 145ish to earn back on rating costs. Again, taking into effect Nintendo's cut of sales. So right now this is much more reasonable for me.
All of the above don't even take into the effect of taxes, translations (though not required), resources of getting game ready for EU (& Germany in particular), etc.
Not all parts though, according to the PEGI official site. For the ones where its not its the same as in the US, its voluntary. Mosy places just play it safe and go the "you need a parent" route. Heaven forbid it should get out that a retailer isn't enforcing it with the way people go nuts over game content.
U are right,For small games over 350Mb it could be real expensive to pay the Usk.But isnt this the same in other Businesses.You need always starting money and your product must be sold a lot of times to get profit.
You cant blame only the raiting agencys if you dont earn money with your game.
I mean i got a 3DS and i wont buy E-Shop games because if my 3DS gets busted i dont know how to get the Dll games on my new one. Its really complicated at Nintendo.You must sent your broken 3DS to them so they can copy your Software for you or sth. like this.
I think this is very Customer unfriendly.
And i think the majority of Nintendo Customers in Germany dont want to buy Download games because they cant resell them.
I am German and i hate the Usk but not because of their testing prizes..
In this Case the Usk prevents German Kids 2 buy baditybad Games,because if the game is real successfull in other countrys everybody can pay the Usk for testing it,And i guess here are over 1Million 3DS Users.So u need only less than 0,1 percent Customers to buy your game to get profit.
Just for this reason, I wish we could have an international Eshop, where everyone can buy whatever they want, but laws and politicians are against this, because "they want to protect the youth from violence"... as if one can't see enough violence in the freaking news or on the internet, since none of the parents gives a damn what their kids are doing. Honestly, this is why we need region free systems, so that customers can go wherever they want to get the stuff the want and not regulations like the USK, that pulls the money out of the devs pocket and later blames the game for being "too violent". Heck, what comes next? Soccer is too violent? Pencils are possible weapons? You need a weapon license for your hands because you could use them for killing someone? The world is going insane and it gets worse from year to year. Forget Germany and the USK, because they do more damage to video games than every other country (expect from Australia) and yes, I can say this because I live in Germany and suffer from this damn law.
I'm working on two games for WiiU right now. First will be just in the US, and hoping to at least earn enough from it to pay for PEGI for the second. Not decided if USK is worthwhile yet.
I've heard a rumor IARC won't arrive for Wii U this year. Though I'd love that to be wrong, gotta plan based on pessimistic predictions.
The other aspect is the opportunity cost to developers. That €1200 could go towards say a stand at a games convention or help pay for a PS4 devkit or pay for some kickass concept art, all of which may or may not generate more sales than USK.
Hope this helps the other developers:
We just had a conversation with a representative of USK. They told us that age ratings in Germany are only mandatory if the content is sold in retail stores - so for download only content there is no requirement to have the content rated. Their website is a bit unclear regarding this, but if you send them an email they are really nice and clear. Don't know (yet) if Nintendo enforces anything but it might be just a misunderstanding.
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