Windows 8 Marketplace Will Not Carry PEGI 18+ Games

By Adam Smith on October 11th, 2012 at 1:00 pm.

The Windows 8 regulations state that any game rated above PEGI 16+ will not be available through the Windows digital store. Given the number of hugely commercial titles that fall in that bracket, Microsoft appear not only to be shooting themselves in the foot but sawing off their leg as well, but this could be much more than an odd business decision. What if it’s not just about sales but about distribution and the open nature of the platform as a whole? Let’s get ready to grumble.

I haven’t used Windows 8 and haven’t been particularly outspoken as the conversation as to how ‘closed’ a platform it might be rumbles on. I’ve been holding to the opinion that even if the Windows Store is the method by which purchases integrate with the new user interface, I’ll be found over in the classic Windows mode, which appears to be as open as ever.

That’s not to say that the presence of a cloistered area within the operating system – a closed and controlled front – hadn’t bothered me before now, but I was willing to wait until I could see precisely how intrusive it was before complaining too loudly. The latest regulations revealed change all that. Digging through the Windows 8 app certification requirements, Casey Muratori highlights section 5.1:

Your app must not contain adult content, and metadata must be appropriate for everyone. Apps with a rating over PEGI 16, ESRB MATURE, or that contain content that would warrant such a rating, are not allowed.

In Europe, the Windows 8 Store, and by connection the new Windows 8 interface, will not sell or support any game with more than a 16+ PEGI rating. In the US, Microsoft are only disinterested in games rated Mature, which makes the American store less exclusive, although still problematic. Exactly why it’s problematic should be clear – Windows is the gateway through which the majority of people access all other software on their PCs and its creator is taking steps toward making it a more narrow and protected gateway than ever before.

It’s hugely, massively, leviathantically important to stress that all software can still be purchased elsewhere and run on a Windows 8 machine. It’s not going to be like the iOS update situation, whereby Google Maps was gone for good, irretrievable, and you suddenly found that your favourite restaurant was at the bottom of a lake. Windows 8 will still offer a more traditional Windows experience, concealed behind the curtain, just as DOS kept its place within Windows 95. It may be useful to remember how that change began. At first, Windows was a graphical interface running within DOS and then DOS was a command line interface integrated (and eventually emulated) within later versions of Windows. It’s still there, although third party solutions are generally needed to create an environment suitable for older games.

I hated losing DOS functionality, to the extent that I was like the guy who only buys music on vinyl and claims that any other medium loses “97% of the vibes”. I was an insufferable little urchin back then and now that I’m older and lazier, I barely ever look a command prompt in the cursor. But what if the move to Windows 95 had come with similar regulations as to what software would actually work on the new system? The command prompt would be a workaround, not simply a preference but a requirement to play some of the most significant games of past, present and future. Why now, when the operating system is on the verge of its biggest shift since Win 95, are these measures being brought into place? Muratori actually looks back to 1990 and Windows 3.0 for the beginning of the shift. I’ll admit, I was nine years old then and had an Atari ST so I’m a child of ’95.

From a commercial perspective, it seems counter-intuitive, completely opposed to the perhaps arcane capitalist imperative of making lots and lots of money. Microsoft are, generally, quite good at that. In fact, it’s odd to be writing about Microsoft apparently squandering opportunities to sell things rather than writing about their grim-faced determination to sell all of the things no matter what the consequences might be. Through their inbuilt store, a thing that will no doubt greet millions of people whenever they turn on their computer, Microsoft are refusing to sell almost every major FPS and plenty of other commercial and critical successes. No Dishonored for the store, not in Europe, just to pick a recent/upcoming (#nooceans) examples.

At the very least, I’d hope Microsoft explain the decision, or even decide on a less restrictive policy. Brand management is suggested as one possibility as to why the company may not want to have its own store associated with violence, sex and drugs, but then the Fable series, published by Microsoft Game Studios, is just about suitable for sale, although it does contain ‘realistic looking violence’, ‘nudity’ and ‘teaches gambling’. Maybe all of that belongs with the Microsoft-exclusive chainsaw-guns on the next Xbox, a Microsoft device, yes, but for gamers, part of a different brand identity separate from the clean lines of Windows future.

If the Windows Store somehow becomes the recognised front of PC gaming, it’s even possible that developers will be encouraged to self-censor in order to gain access to it as a channel. For all the variety in cinematic releases, the pursuit of wider distribution, more so in the US than in Europe, has had an influence on film-makers and without direct access to their audience creators will always have to navigate the filters of whatever channels they use to expose their work. Any move to add content-related filters – rather than technical ones – to a system that formerly had nothing of the sort, threatens to create a two tier distribution model, and the existence of such strict regulations is far from encouraging.

Windows 8 will let us avoid all of these restrictions and regulations, but that doesn’t mean their presence shouldn’t be questioned and it certainly doesn’t mean they can’t be criticised. Having the option to avoid an undesirable aspect of a system doesn’t remove that aspect and nor does it necessarily query and challenge the reasons behind the existence of that aspect. We should – and shall – do both of those things.

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236 Comments »

  1. diamondmx says:

    Hey look, Gabe called it.

    • SquareWheel says:

      Not really, Gabe feared Windows Store replacing Steam. Now that fear is gone, it clearly serves a different market of gamers. This is good for Steam.

      If it’s good for everybody else is the better question.

      • Lenderz says:

        I don’t think that was his fear, it was steam games/software not being given the same status as Windows 8 Store “Apps” and being hidden behind the flashy OS shiny rather than able to have tiles and stuff.

        It was the inequality and closed nature of the new OS I believe he was commenting on, its like Microsoft only allowing MS software, or Software they authorise to have desktop icons on your PC. No good for anyone who can’t place icons.

        • SquareWheel says:

          I agree on what Gabe feared, but I think this ensures Steam a place on Windows still. People will still depend on it for games (though perhaps the software store will take second fiddle).

          I’m thinking Microsoft is pretty fearful of another anti-trust suit based on their changing of the Metro name, so I bet they’ll be more cautious, or perhaps more sneaky, about putting themselves in the position of monopoly again.

          • AaronLee says:

            “- all the people who haven’t used it hate it, and all the folks who have used it love it. It was the same deal with Windows Vista -”

            From experience with the OS for a year so I have to say no to this. The thing was a fat blob of an OS, locked up too much RAM and was unreliable. I partially blame it for why my PC overheated itself into the grave doing menial stuff.

        • The Snee says:

          That comment on apps getting hidden rings true of the most recent Xbox360 dashboard update. Independent developers are relegated to the indie category, which is hidden deep, deep within layers of menus. Outcry from the community brought it to the forefront a little more, but it is pretty badly maintained, using a vote based system to determine which ones float to the top, meaning a slew of avatar based minecraft clones get featured, where as well made but niche or complex games will be relegated to the depths.
          Also, the current icon for indie games is a title screenshot for a really rather bad game. It’s been like that for months. It’s a shame, because there is some really good stuff in there.

          • Phantoon says:

            I’m not implying those that game on Xbox are less intelligent than other people, because I’m saying it outright. Of course those games with depth aren’t as popular!

      • Vorphalack says:

        Gabe declared Windows 8 to be a steaming turd, and everyone assumed he was worried that it was a threat to steam.

        Turns out it was a turd after all. Gabe called it.

        • SquareWheel says:

          What makes you say Windows 8 is a turd? From what I can tell all the people who haven’t used it hate it, and all the folks who have used it love it. It was the same deal with Windows Vista – the OS was fine (though Nvidia put out some bad drivers causing crashes) and yet there was vitriol from everybody. They made it a bit sleeker, called it Windows 7, and everybody loved it.

          If you’re going to criticize a product or service do list at least one reason for your belief, else you’re just jumping on the bandwagon and contributing nothing.

          • Vorphalack says:

            ”all the folks who have used it love it.”

            Except for Gabe, many other prominent figures in the PC industry (including most of the RPS writers), a large number of beta testers, and everyone who is opposed to the increasingly closed nature of the OS.

            I don’t like it because it offers nothing new that I can find a use for, and brings several new negatives to the party. At any price it would be a waste of money with lots of negative baggage thrown in for free.

          • Hoaxfish says:

            I’ve used it on desktop/laptop… I forced myself to use it multiple times for weeks (hey, maybe I was being silly, and I’ll just recheck my perceptions).

            1. There’s a massively disjointed sensation when you jump between Desktop and not-Metro (e.g. closing the program works differently, task-switching works differently). Not helped by parts of the OS actively sending you to the other half (e.g. default pdf reader is a not-Metro app, while deep system settings are only available in the old desktop control panel).

            2. I originally thought Live-tiles would be pretty cool… turns out they’re mostly as useless as Vista “gadgets”. A brief difference when you’re trying to find the “app” you want. In one case the photos tile was harder to find due to the word “photo” blending in with the picture the tile was displaying.

            3. My normal routine on Win8 is to go straight to desktop, open the web-browser and have a better experience inside the browser then anything on the not-Metro section of the OS (mostly due to tabbed UI design being better for workflow, multi-tasking, update notification, etc).

            Being able to avoid not-Metro after a few clicks does not excuse its unavoidable nature as you login/logout.

            Probably the best parts of Win8 for me are a number of the new Desktop features (like the new Task manager). I do enjoy some of the styling like the new “Lock screen” and the “flatter” Desktop framing.

            The not-Metro environment is MS trying to unify their Windows monopoly across the PC, Tablet and Phone environments… the latter 2 of which they have dismal representation in. For a large screen, on a stationary desktop (set away from your sitting position), on a powerful machine… the OS should be much better at basically everything, but it’s not because it’s hobbled by trying to accommodate small-screen, handheld, relatively underpowered devices.

            Apple have dominance on Tablet and Phone atm, but have made no moves to push iOS onto desktop (the app store, and some other “cross form-factor” things have happened though as a drip-feed of features).

            Google, on both Android and Chrome OS, have seen development of “window GUI” (small w)… i.e. they’re pursuing things which MS is in the process of removing.

          • Lemming says:

            ”all the folks who have used it love it.”

            That’s rubbish. All folks who’ve used it at the very most have said “It runs just as good as Windows 7″, which begs the question: Why get rid of Windows 7?

          • xvaltan says:

            It really irks me when people throw out the ‘everyone who hates Windows 8 hasn’t used it’ line. I had it on my main gaming computer for a long while and finally just had to get rid of it for Windows 7 again. The new ribbon interface in Windows Explorer makes navigation very clunky for me. I love the Aero Glass in Windows 7 and was very disappointed Microsoft doesn’t want to give us any sort of option to go back to it (ala Windows Classic mode). The Start Screen is okay, but I found it to be rather clunky with a mouse as well, and generally prefer the older start menu (even with it’s slower text search). I also really couldn’t find a way to add my own icons on the new Start Screen, but that’s probably just me (didn’t investigate too far). And lastly the fact that Microsoft wants to slowly push Windows towards the closed, App Store model I find disgusting. Yeah, you can run non-Metro apps for now, but Microsoft already considers anything that is non-Metro (runs on Windows 7) Legacy applications. It wouldn’t be surprising if they eventually removed compatibility for non-Metro apps in an eventual post-8 version.

            Metro and Windows 8 in general remind me of all the ‘monetization’ Microsoft’s shoved into the gaming world with the 360. Everything feels designed to sell me something.

          • alsoran says:

            “It was the same deal with Windows Vista – the OS was fine (though Nvidia put out some bad drivers causing crashes) and yet there was vitriol from everybody. They made it a bit sleeker, called it Windows 7, and everybody loved it.”

            Nope, Vista really is a pile of poo. Windows 7 was what it should have been and the jury is still out on Windows 8 as I have not tried it yet.

          • barcharcraz says:

            From the wikipedia article on windows NT 4.0

            “One significant difference from previous versions of Windows NT is that the Graphics Device Interface (GDI) is moved into kernel mode[14] rather than being in user mode in the CSRSS process. This eliminated a process to process context switch in calling GDI functions, resulting in a significant performance improvement over Windows NT 3.51, particularly in the graphical user interface. This however also mandated that graphics and printer drivers had to run in kernel mode as well[15], resulting in potential stability issues.”

            Then later

            “In early releases of 4.0, numerous stability issues did occur as graphics and printer vendors had to change their drivers to be compatible with the kernel mode interfaces exported to them by GDI. The change to move the GDI to run in the same process context as its caller was prompted by complaints from NT Workstation users about realtime graphics performance, but this change put a considerable onus on hardware manufacturers to update device drivers. Even when manufacturers, primarily graphics hardware manufacturers, wrote 4.0-specific drivers, the BSOD was much more prevalent in Windows NT 4.0 until these driver issues were resolved.”

            Sound like any other operating system you know? perhaps vista? did you know that windows NT 4.0 had a total of almost 7 service packs (1 – 6 and 6a with sp7 planned and canceled)?

            Windows vista also had substantial changes to how drivers are handled, with the new user mode device framework as well. Although the new user mode drivers are in principle more stable than full kernel mode drivers vendors had to rewrite the kernel mode code in order to split off most functionality into user mode, thus creating bugs.

          • Snakejuice says:

            “If you’re going to criticize a product or service do list at least one reason for your belief, else you’re just jumping on the bandwagon and contributing nothing.”

            No no, no. I want EVERYONE to jump on this hatin’ bandwagon regardless of their reasons or actual knowledge of windows 8 because it’s in my best intrest as a customer that Windows 8 flops.

          • Mashiki says:

            Beh. It’s a mediocre upgrade at best from Win7, I’ve got a copy on my development PC and let me say that I hate metro. I hate the core changes, I hate the “lets hide everything” I hate the “let’s make everything more difficult to find” decisions. I hate that they made it easier to use shortcuts, in turn more difficult for those of us with customized keyboards. I don’t use or have a windows key mapped, because it’s mapped for special functions tied to to the alt, shift, and ctrl keys. As I have limited movement from breaking my back.

            But, well if MS wants to shoot itself in the face with this decision, that’s fine with me. Gabe was right on this though.

          • Kittim says:

            I’ve used win8 and I don’t like it :)
            Not trolling, really have used it really don’t like it.
            You want reasons why? Ok…

            Bolting a phone O/S onto the desktop is a bad idea.
            You want to develop using the Express version of Visual Studio, then you’re limited to Metro apps only. The only way to install said Metro app is via the MS App Store.
            Pay MS 30% of your apps price for the privilege of sticking it in said store.
            Shame if you wanted to give away your app or make it shareware.
            Of course you could pony up the ~$500 for the Pro version of VS, then you can make desktop apps.

            So I’m utterly against the bid for control that MS are trying to make here, they want a constant revenue stream and have been testing the water in XPox land (yes, I spelt that correctly). This, coupled with their “cloud” bollocks makes me, once a stanch MS fan hope that it all fails and wipes billions off their worth.

            If you think I’m being unkind about the “cloud” stuff then remember that many moons ago, MS were amongst those companies that were pivotal in stopping the likes of IBM leasing computer time and storage to companies by introducing “Home Computing”. Now it’s come full circle and MS are the new IBM.

            Bunch of arse.

          • Caiman says:

            You’re confusing streamlining and user experience with utility and power. In other words, just because it looks and feels nice doesn’t make it superior when behind the sheen it is compromised compared with the previous version. For me Metro feels soulless, and all these restrictions just underline that fact. I strongly suspect Windows 8 will be the Windows ME and Vista of Microsoft’s portfolio.

      • Teovald says:

        The fear of having developpers self censoring themselves in order to be able to publish their game is very real though. It happens a lot in the Apple Store which has the same kind of non sensical terms.

        • AndrewC says:

          Major cinema and video chains refusing to run NC-17 movies has resulted in a change in how mainstream movies are made – making them controversy-averse and more adolescant in attitude. It can be argued that the NC-17 policy is entirely idealogical, as these chains use terms like ‘family friendly’ to mask moral judgements on content.

          So this happens. The gatekeepers for a culture change that culture.

          • DiamondDog says:

            Film makers and audiences have their own part to play in that, though. The Taken films and Dredd being a good recent example. A film that basically sells itself on the promise of Liam Neeson beating the crap out of people makes cuts to its more violent scenes to get a lower age rating and try for a bigger audience. Dredd on the other hand is strictly an adult film and seems to be suffering from it in terms of the amount of people going to see it.

            Obviously it’s not that simple. With something like Dredd it very much depends on how good it is. It’s not the kind of film that’s critic proof. Taken 2 clearly has a broader appeal to begin with. But for a violent film like Taken 2 to strip out it’s more mature scenes to go from a 15 for the first film, down to a 12, is purely motivated by money. And that’s not something dictated to them by cinemas and distributors, it’s down to the fact that it audiences lap it up.

            With games it’s kind of strange, because there is clearly still money to be made in mature rated games, whereas with films it’s clear that making your film suitable for a younger audience will get you a lot more cash. It’s not so clear cut for Microsoft to think no adult content = more money.

            I used a lot of waffle to basically say I think the audience still has a big say in things. Distributors don’t hold all the cards. Obviously if you’re one of the folks that wants more films like Dredd then you’re kind of out of luck either way. Have to see if adult games go down the same path.

          • battles_atlas says:

            The political rhetoric is all about the need to remove state regulation of business so that the sovereign consumer can make all the decisions, but this cultural/moral guardianship bullshit adopted by the Corps shows up that discourse for the nonsense it is. In this case, as in the cinema one, we need state regulation to protect us from industry self-regulation.

            Anti-monopoly measures help, but when MS or Walmart or whoever decide we all have to be treated like children, they can be powerful enough to determine cultural production without being a monopoly.

          • AndrewC says:

            This is not really about violence=maturity, as us western folks have a weird thing where violence is fine and sex is very bad. Dredd is obscenely violent, but there it is, no-one eally questioning its R rating, which means a six year old could legally see it.. This is about film-makers avoiding some content, mostly sex and drugs, altogether, in order to get a wide release. There aren’t even that many prurient or exploitative depictions of these things in mainstream movies, let alone more mature depictions.

            Atom Egoyan’s Where the Truth Lies was given an NC-17 because we saw Colin Firth (Colin Firth!) thrust more than 3 times in one shot. Such ridiculously specific rules leading to the economic disaster of an NC-17 rating means the sort of films that get greenlight simply avoid the topics altogether, just to be safe.

            Thus we get less sleaze, but also less films about actual adults. It has changed the culture.

            And thus how can our very adolescant games culture grow up when Microsoft start stopping adult games selling well? It is yet another negative pressure.

            But, on the brighter side, it could be said that the genuinely free and adult cinema was always from the small and independent, and the same will be true of games. Fair enough. Cynical, for it assumes the mainstream is always lost, but fair enough. If this is the case then this gatekeeping still represents a corporation using its power to morally shape a culture, which is, at best, an always uncomfortable thought.

          • Brun says:

            Dredd on the other hand is strictly an adult film and seems to be suffering from it in terms of the amount of people going to see it.

            I think Dredd suffers more from the fact that it’s a remake of a relatively bad movie.

          • Vandelay says:

            Dredd is suffering because it is near impossible to see a 2D print of the film. I would imagine if the 2D version was readily available it would be seeing much better takings.

          • Caiman says:

            And that’s happening because, despite the fact that Dredd’s 3D is one of the best examples of its type, the endless stream of shitty post-production 3D caused by studios wanting to make a quick buck on the back of Avatar (which also had excellent 3D) have destroyed the public’s trust of 3D. Reaping what you sow, and all that. Corporate greed is why we can’t have nice things.

        • Walsh says:

          Pretty sure this is because of countries like Germany/Australia/etc that ban or restrict content with a certain rating, this line from the MS App store policies basically covers it “Windows Store apps are appropriate for a global audience”.

          Microsoft most likely does not want to create separate storefronts for each country to deal with their censorship bullshit so took the least common denominator. Can’t place all the blame on Microsoft for trying to take the path of least resistance.

          No one seems to have considered this and thinks for some reason Microsoft randomly decided it wants to be in the business of censoring content for no particular reason on a specific platform while allowing any kind of content on its other platforms.

          • rb2610 says:

            Yet Steam manages perfectly well to provide a full range of titles in the majority of countries…

          • Naum says:

            At least for Germany, the conditions could be much less strict. Our rating agency, the USK, is frequently one level below the PEGI rating (16 instead of 18, 12 instead of 16 etc.), with the highest level being 18+. Only games that are denied an age rating altogether may not be sold in stores, and you have to work pretty hard for that to happen — I’m almost positive that nothing RPS will ever cover would be among the .5 to 1 percent of games per year that face this fate. The denial basically means that violence is glorified as the only way to solve problems with the game requiring you to act beyond all ethical boundaries (or a couple more horrific things), and those criteria aren’t applied all that strictly.

            There may be issues with public advertisement for 18+ games that I’m not aware of, but since the shallow ‘enter your real birthday please’ trick seems to be generally accepted, I can’t see huge problems for Microsoft in that regard either.

            In any case, this will hopefully prevent the damned WinStore from even becoming a relevant market for games, which can only be a good thing.

          • Caiman says:

            Australia now has its own R18+ rating, which will be coming into effect very soon, so you won’t be able to use it as the games censorship whipping boy anymore (although until it does come into effect, have at it!).

          • wu wei says:

            Australia now has its own R18+ rating, which will be coming into effect very soon

            Despite what everyone thinks, this won’t lead to more games being released here. Games that would be currently classed as M will instead be pushed into R18+. It’s the perfect place for politicians to place the video game whipping boys du jour without appearing to be actually censoring them. R18+ games won’t be carried by any major chain, so local distributors will pressure the publisher to provide censored versions. In order to not produce a disparity of available product which would further annoy the local distributors, the publisher will only make the censored version available via digital distributors.

            I’m not going to count the new classification as a win until we’ve actually won something.

      • ScubaMonster says:

        I think the real issue is that Windows 8 most likely serves as a transition. I can see Win 9 ditching legacy support, or at least trying. I think that would bring about huge lawsuits over a monopoly just like IE though. But I really do feel they are testing the waters and trying to get people used to their new closed system, then remove the rest of Windows and adhere strictly to the new design only.

        • Jac says:

          I suggest you get a new monocle to allow you to see better. I’ve just had one delivered and i see them not ditching legacy support, or even trying to in windows 9.

          You should maybe research where they make most of their money from to see why this will not happen.

          • 2Ben says:

            Most of their money is made with Office, which they are pushing hard towards subscription model and web-based Office365 solutions. Which does match a closed system long-term view…
            So your point was…?

        • Ragnar says:

          I strongly doubt that’s the case, as Windows 7 is better about legacy support than Vista ever was, and in some cases even better than XP. Yes, I run into some problems when I try to play a 14 year old game, designed when we only had 256 colors and only 32bits, but it’s often possible.

          And that’s ignoring the commercial side, where you have companies running software designed for XP. If Windows 9 doesn’t support Windows 7 or older software, Microsoft will lose a huge amount of their corporate desktop business.

      • LintMan says:

        From what I’ve gathered, a bit part of Gabe’s issues is that MS’s app store stem from:
        1) only Metro-style apps can be sold there
        2) Metro-style apps can ONLY be sold there.

        Basically this means that if developers want their product in the MS store, they have to make them Metro apps. AND if it’s a Metro app, then it can ONLY be sold at the MS store. So all apps developed to us MS’s new GUI going forward and locked out of being sold through any and all third party vendors.

        (From what I understand, the only way to install a Metro app is through the MS store interface, so you have to buy from MS.)

        If that is correct, then the implication in this article is that there can be no ESRB Mature or PEGI 18+ metro apps at all.

        • Brun says:

          No ESRB AO or PEGI 18. The terms state ratings “ABOVE PEGI 16 or ABOVE ESRB Mature”, which means noninclusion of M.

  2. Ooops says:

    A rating over PEGI 16… Doesn’t that mean that PEGI 16 will in fact be accepted and that only PEGI 18 will be banned ? Not to defend microsoft, I’m as concerned as anyone about turning windows into a closed platform, just wondering if this particular policy was not misinterpreted.

    • Deathmaster says:

      If you look at the icons, they also state 16+. The plus makes me doubt your hopes.

      • Ooops says:

        The exact policy quote from the article is “Apps with a rating over PEGI 16, ESRB MATURE, or that contain content that would warrant such a rating, are not allowed.” not “at or over PEGI 16″

        • Adam Smith says:

          I’ve edited that to be absolutely clear – the 16+ thing actually does suggest they mean ‘more than 16+’ rather than ‘including 16+’. My mistake and it makes the policy appear less restrictive – as I stated I hoped it might at the least become, so that’s something.

          • themindstream says:

            Speaking of edits:

            ” In the US, Microsoft are only disinterested in games rated Mature” – should be Adults Only. ESRB Mature covers a lot of the same content that PEGI 18 does.

            Whoever came up with the rules should really have gotten a reality check from someone in the XBox division, but cooperation between internal divisions has never been something MS has been good at either.

          • The Colonel says:

            For that matter shouldn’t it be “uninterested”?

  3. John Connor says:

    Just add that to the 10,000 reasons Metro sucks fucking ass.

    I’ll get Windows 8 when there’s a checkbox that turns that fisher price shit off.

    • Lenderz says:

      Strangely enough lots of people said that about the XP interface when it was first launched.

      • Dozer says:

        The new Windows API which came with XP (or was it Vista), or the visual theme?

        The windows on my XP machines all look like grey boxes with a blue title bar.

        • barcharcraz says:

          Several points, firstly the windows store is for metro apps only, that means that they are written using the new winRT (not like windows on arm but the API is called winRT or windows runtime) library. In addition they agree to only use a subset of the win32 or .net apis. In other words metro apps that can go on the windows store are subject to many limitations. Apps for the desktop can appear in the windows store but instead of a “buy” button there will be a link to the publisher’s website.

          Also note that vista and XP did not really come with a new API in the same way that winRT is a new API. Windows Vista added the composting window manager (aero glass) and some associated winAPI extensions, direct2D, and I think WPF. The big changes in Vista were in the kernel with features such as UAC, ASLR, better NX bit support, and SEHOP.

          Windows RT is actually implemented using direct3D and so the only “real” window is the top level one that contains everything else. That said handles do exist for metro apps and some classic win32 API calls will work with them.

          To be totally honest the point of the windows store is to provide fairly simple apps with a compelling UX (user experience) , not full blown games that probably would not be able to get into the windows store even if they were rated as family safe.

          I hope this means that games will finally start saving games in ~/Saved Games instead of some random place in the filesystem

      • Kyrall says:

        I’m still using the Windows2k-style theme on Win7.

      • Joshua says:

        The XP interface is not different from the windows 98 one all that much. There is a desktop, there is a start button, there are windows.
        The start menu was slightly different, but still followed the same principle.

        Windows 8 is an entire redesign.

      • Mctittles says:

        The Windows XP “fisher price” interface DID suck.
        Microsoft just continues to outdo themselves on terrible interfaces.

  4. Spy_Guy says:

    Well, time to start resisting change, with a passion!

  5. Zanchito says:

    We’re all australians!

  6. Loque says:

    I’d rather stick to console gaming than upgrading to Windows 8

    • mrmalodor says:

      You mean downgrading.

    • dE says:

      Congratulations, they’ve achieved what they aimed for.

    • Tei says:

      You rather give Microsoft money for the right to download patches, the right to play multiplayer, a extra 10$ in every game, and the right to download ads. Than play the PC, and have everything listed there for free (minus the ads if you don’t want ads).

  7. aliksy says:

    My guess is they don’t want hypothetical “doesn’t know video games exist” grandma to get frightened by MANSHOOT 17: MAN SHOOTIER on her screen, I don’t see why they didn’t make it an opt-in thing.

    • Stellar Duck says:

      When is that out? I must have it! I *loved* MANSHOOT 16: THE SHOOTENING!

      • RaytraceRat says:

        bah, fanboy noob, everyone knows that the only true Manshoot was MANSHOOT 15: THE PEW PEW.

        • marat271 says:

          What in bloody hell is wrong with you, the series went went downhill after the original game: Manshoot X: The revenge of the Calling for Battlefielding Honorours Duty – Modern world at Black Ops

  8. Arathian says:

    I don’t like where windows are going.

    Not one damn bit.

    • Teovald says:

      Closed platform with only politically correct bullshit allowed ? What’s not to love ?
      Are you a bad citizen mister Arathian ?
      It is well known that only pedophiles and terrorists benefit from these so called “freedom of speech” and “open platform”.

      • lizzardborn says:

        Sadly in two years it will be said with a straight face from some politicians.

        • Ragnar says:

          Two years? They’ve been attacking us filthy gamers for years.

          7 years ago it was about how GTA could be turned into a filthy game of simulated fully-clothed sexual debauchery, turning all our innocent children into rapists, with nothing more than a hacking of the game’s files.

          5 years ago it was the depraved alien sex simulator, Mass Effect, that was corrupting the innocence of our children and turning them into sex fiends, giving handjobs for crack.

          Now we’ve got exposing the horrible truth that a woman running for US Senate plays an Orc Rogue in WoW, and thus enjoys poisoning people, stabbing them in the back, and killing them. Do you want her to poison, stab, and kill our children?

          Think of the children! They need our thinking! Without our thinking, they will surely cease to be!

    • tobecooper says:

      I know, man. Putting windows in a garden? That doesn’t make sense. They won’t grow there.

    • Emeraude says:

      I don’t like where the PC market has been going. Not one bit.

      But then, as far as gaming is concerned, I don’t really see what Win8 aim to do that is worse that what Valve is doing right now.

      • wedge1985 says:

        The difference is that valve doesn’t stop you from installing games from outside of its system. They are a publishing system essentially and so can choose what to allow on the system. Equally ME3 wasn’t on it and seemed to do alright.

        This system would basically end the indie bundles as there would be no way of offering non drm versions of the games. This is not good. The end result of this could be that M$ would control everything that was installed on your computer. Nothing that they didn’t directly approve would be rendered useless. Development stagnates until the only innovations are coming directly from microsoft.

        Big Brother anyone?

        • Emeraude says:

          My understanding was that the current proposed Win8 architecture is not yet reaching Apple store level (I can’t find a link but that case of an indie game being labeled as some form of malware because it was not from the store was depressing). As it stands, and again as far as games are concerned, I see no difference with what Steam has been doing via Steamworks: one can buy a game anywhere, and still being forced to use the service.

          • Snakejuice says:

            TBH it’s already like this for most games on PC! No matter what shop you buy you PC game in you need Windows to run it! The problem with W8 is that I and a lot of other people suspect it’s Microsoft testing the waters with the ultimate goal of expanding Metro to replace the standard windows API in W9 so that everyone has to sell through their store. It’s probably a bit paranoid of us but a bit of paranoia is only healthy as they sure as hell would do just that if they could get away with it.

            I sure am not going to encourage them by bying W8.

          • Emeraude says:

            My, been a long time since I heard that one.
            Still sounds as ridiculous as a way to dodge the point as the first day. One has been made mandatory for technical reasons. The other is being made so for political (in the broader sense) ones.
            Not to mention, people did complain on how directX, for all the good it might have done, linked gaming to one OS.

            As for your second, more valid point: I do understand, and share the concern, but so far that particular set up is more likely to concern non gaming programs. Which is why I each time made the precision as far as gaming is concerned.

        • gattsuru says:

          The Windows App Store is only required (or intended for) WinRT Apps. That’s not going to prevent anyone from installing things from other sources for the overwhelming majority of programs, and given the limitations of WinRT it’s pretty unlikely to even be a mainstay for small mainstream programs.

          It might lead to the Windows Phone and Metro interface being closed environments — but they’re not what you’re looking to install indie bundles in anyway!

  9. GallonOfAlan says:

    DOS isn’t still there – COMMAND.COM has been gone since Vista. CMD.EXE emulates the MS-DOS commands though.

    • SquareWheel says:

      That’s exactly what the article says. “(and eventually emulated)”

  10. woodsey says:

    They couldn’t just have a freaking portal you have to log in to again for anything considered “adult”?

  11. Dominic White says:

    You can bet that they’ll be selling 18-rated movies on their film store, though!

  12. Jumwa says:

    Fight this oppressive tactic! Woooh! Don’t suppress ‘Mature’ games!

    For the record though, we’re all still against “porn games” and find them totally bereft of value and rightfully not sold on any of the majour digital distributors websites, right?

    • HexagonalBolts says:

      You’re just being pedantic, there’s a hell of a big difference between Borderlands 2 or Dishonored and dodgy sex game from asia

      • Arathian says:

        The difference is…?

      • Jumwa says:

        And that’s the only type of game containing sex that could exist, of course.

        Being upset about this and finding the complete unavailability and suppression of these other games is just completely hypocritical.

        And if you base your justification for this upon a lack of quality in these titles, then perhaps you’d read the story over again, but this time think about how banning such games from majour vendors might’ve led to a complete halt to any growth in the genre.

        But then, I’m being pedantic. There’s plenty of room for blood and gore, but a worthwhile tackling of sex would be impossible so should be completely shunned.

      • Thermal Ions says:

        Probably depends upon one’s views on violence and sex. Particularly as to whether one is “worse” than the other – something likely influenced by cultural norms, which vary widely across the globe.

      • Klaus says:

        Well, if you meant games like Rapelay or are really about getting up-skirt peeks, or games that mainly involve leering at 14-year-old-looking-but-are-really-18-year-olds, then I’d agree.

        • Jumwa says:

          I find it interesting that gamers are willing to make distinctions between your typical violent, gory games, and then those like the games re-enacting the Columbine massacre for being unacceptable. But then someone can just lump all games that might try to tackle sex into “Rapelay” territory.

          Not that you were doing that, you’re obviously making a distinction there.

          • Dave Mongoose says:

            “don’t take it personally, babe, it just ain’t your story” is the only game I’ve played that dealt with sex in a mature way, because it used it to explore the personalities of the characters rather than just for titillation or to generate artificial controversy.

            I have a feeling it would probably fall under PEGI-16 anyway.

          • Jumwa says:

            That was an interesting game, and probably the only thing I could claim to have played in a decade that would constitute a sex game as well.

            I don’t know of any examples in the genre to point to other than popular ones in the media to lambaste. But just as this article warns that by stripping violent games out of the majour markets could lead to them no longer being made at all, and a death or stagnation because of it, the same undoubtedly happened to games containing sex.

            You can’t hope to find good, quality examples of a product such as video games when there’s no mass market to sell them to for a profit.

      • Entitled says:

        Some of the most compelling narratives that I have ever seen in the video game medium happened in pornographic VNs such as CROSS†Channel, Ef: A Fairy Tale of the Two, Sharin No Kuni, Katawa Shoujo, Kana Imouto, or G-Senjou no Maou.

        • 2Ben says:

          Thanks for the other titles I didn’t know, and definitive Yes! for Kana Imouto. Crying like a baby at the end of a so-called “porn game” probably isn’t what most people expect from the genre…

        • SkittleDiddler says:

          If you say so.

    • Persus-9 says:

      I’m not. I don’t really like the fact the Steam kicked ‘Seduce Me’ off Greenlight either. On the other hand I think this is far more serious. Not because of the level of restriction but because of the position of store within the system. There is a vast difference between a 3rd party store choosing to only stock certain software and an integrated store doing the same thing. If a 3rd party store doesn’t stock something then they’re saying they don’t want that share of the market. If an integrated store refuses to stock something then it looks a lot like they’re trying to squeeze those things off the platform.

      • Jumwa says:

        I could see the merit in that kind of argument if Steam were an outlier. But Steam is only doing the same thing every other distributor does, thereby collectively achieving the same thing that we’re worried Microsoft might accomplish.

        • Persus-9 says:

          Well no, not really. The threat from Windows is that they’re going to slowly kill everything that doesn’t run through their new UI and thus kill sex games on the platform completely. The threat from Steam is that they’ll make it less convenient to buy them. That is a vast difference as I’m sure everyone who is involved in the pretty large business of making and selling erotic games on PC will attest. Right now Seduce Me exists as a game and come November you’ll be able to buy it and run it on any compatible PC. It might not have the biggest budget and that is partly because it has a marketing problem from not being able to get onto Steam, GamersGate, GOG etc or onto the shelves of bricks and mortar retailers but it isn’t killing it, it is alive and well. Right now I wouldn’t bet anything on that still being the case come Windows 9. If Windows 8 is a success then I think it is damn near certain that in future iterations of Windows the ability to install from outside the app store will be squeezed to death. If that isn’t their intention then I can’t imagine why they’re taking that position with Windows RT.

          • Jumwa says:

            Sex games are about as dead as they can be already without being outright banned. I never named Steam or took issue with them in particular, it’s an industry wide issue that makes them a marginalized genre of games that rarely sees a quality title (as far as I know, which isn’t much on this issue).

            And Microsoft doesn’t need to outright ban anything to accomplish their goals of pushing content through their middle-man store and increasing their profits. Perhaps they’d prefer to, but they don’t need to.

          • Persus-9 says:

            Well I’m no expert on the genre either so perhaps we’d best leave aside the quality of the genre. I think it is slightly off to characterise it as an industry issue. It is of course but only because it reflects a wider issue in society, particularly American society (sorry Americans, love you but seriously…) that sex is sinful and not appropriate for games. I mean it wasn’t the industry which got upset by Hot Coffee or Mass Effect or any other such sex scandal, it was the mainstream press and sections of the public. The proof is all the less prominent things that the industry doesn’t blink at.

            It is a problem and I guess we both agree on that. I suppose I took from your opening comment that you felt it was a little hypocritical for people to get upset now when we’ve all been turning a blind eye to the censorship already present in the industry. My point was merely that actually this is going a step further and so it isn’t unreasonable to be more upset about this than the problems we already have.

          • Jumwa says:

            You make a lot of great points. And yes, the western (particularly American, sorry again Americans) prudishness-to-the-point-of-ridiculousness is to blame at its core. But we’re gamers, and it’s also a gamer issue. Just like the whole issue of sexism isn’t solely about the broader society, it’s also particularly gamer as it pertains to us I think.

          • Entitled says:

            The problem with officially, and institutionally pigeonholing sex games as worthless, is that it’s a very culture-specific idea.

            For example there is a rather huge Japanese “Visual Novel” genre, that cosist of “digital choose-your-own-adventure”- style games in various genres, with literary narratives of hundreds of thousands of words, but for some weird Japanese reason, almost all of them also have a handful of VERY pornographic sex scenes, mixed together with the tens of hours of plot, thus officially categorizing them as “eroge” or “hentai games”.

    • Hodge says:

      Also: there’s a world of difference between something not being to your taste and believing it has no right to exist (or be sold).

      EDIT: That’s in response to Jumwa’s original comment.

      • Jumwa says:

        Just as I don’t have much of a taste for graphic violence in games, and frankly wouldn’t be put out if they went the same way sex games went: a death of stagnation brought on by all majour vendors refusing to sell them. Yet I would still be in favour of those who do wish to see them continue.

        The list of things I disapprove of on a personal level but support the rights of is exhaustively long.

        One thing I try to keep in mind always is that by hypocritically defending things I care for while ignoring those I don’t, I weaken my position in the long run. The precedent is set, the game industry has cast out games for content, so why not do the same again? I mean, there’s certainly no shortage of fears about social backlash from violent games (unfounded and not), there’s definitely more reason to cast out violent games than the sheer prudishness over sex games.

    • Emeraude says:

      For the record though, we’re all still against “porn games” and find them totally bereft of value and rightfully not sold on any of the major digital distributors websites, right?

      I’m not sure who “we” happens to be here.

      Porn games can have value, and the fact that major digital distributors refuse to sell them is in itself problematic – understandable, but problematic.

  13. Lenderz says:

    Microsoft don’t seem to understand one of the most valuable properties that Windows has, one of the main reasons for their massive success in business and consumer markets is because its an open platform. Closing the platform is going to encourage people to slowly start migrating over to other solutions, either OSX because “hey this is a slightly more closed and curated experience too, just like Windows” or Linux because “Hey I value openness”.

    I have no issues with Windows 8 on tablets/phones being curated but on desktops it seems massively self defeating.

    • Hoaxfish says:

      There’s no real reason why all devices shouldn’t be as open as Linux/Windows/Mac Desktop currently manages.

      The Metro-store is essentially making the moves to push past Apple in terms of “locked-in” stores.

      There’s the whole move to “ecosystems” spurred on by lock-in, that means once you’ve bought Apple, you’re stuck with Apple products (or lose access to those purchases on other devices). If I remember correctly, you have to buy multiple copies of games from Microsoft if you want to play it on different devices (I think it was Skulls of the Shogun where the Xbox, PC, and Phone version each needed you to buy another copy)

      Steam, Humble Bundle, etc at least allow you to buy once and have it on multiple platforms.

    • LionsPhil says:

      Also, the massive, massive amount of effort sunk into Win32 and .NET CLR. Not the drop in the ocean which is Microsoft’s own creation and maintenance of the things—the huge, huge, HUGE piles of code already written against them, and the huge, huge, HUGE amount of training, be it paid or self experience, invested into people learning them.

      If you say to someone who has years of experience programming for Windows “oh, we’re starting to move away from that, but you can come learn our new Metro artist-formerly-known-as-Metro/WinRT thing!”, they’re going to say “a) fuck you for throwing away all my work so far”, “b) fuck you for trying to make my skills/my employee’s skills that I paid them to develop obsolete”, “c) I don’t see why I shouldn’t investigate OTHER things I could switch to, like Apple’s flavour of the moment locked platform, or Linux’s flavour of the moment desktop platforms sat on top of awful but enduring POSIX”.

      As a concrete, timely, and topical example, look at Swindle and XNA, which moved to Unity: a platform Microsoft does not control and does not depend on people buying copies of Windows. (Levels of vitriol may vary.)

  14. mrmalodor says:

    This window can remain closed and barred for all I care.

  15. HexagonalBolts says:

    Microsoft is just a ridiculously bloated company now, it’s so fat and wheezy that it can’t turn around in time and respond to trends or innovate at all.

    I doubt Microsoft will ever become the accepted portal for PC games just because every attempt they’ve made so far has been pathetically laughable.

  16. Orazio Zorzotto says:

    Well, I guess it’s time for me to jump on the “Windows74eva” train. Only until I’m proven wrong, of course.
    If their’s one thing I can’t stand it’s censorship. Of course, this’ll probably make no even the smallest dent in the industry, but it’s still a possibility that in ten years time we’ll be looking back going “Man, I swear we used to have more games made for adults. Mostly games with gratuitous amounts of shooty shooty and blood, but also games for adults”,

  17. atticus says:

    They’re ‘appling’.

    Since they’ve lost the ability to innovate, they’re stuck to mimicking the most successfull competitor, which means simplyfing and streamlining the experience.

    As if we need another fruity OS. The fools.

  18. apocraphyn says:

    Eh, insert comment about Steam being the lesser evil here, yadda yadda yadda.

  19. Thermal Ions says:

    A well written article Adam.

    I’d tend towards the thinking that Microsoft are trying to avoid the possibility of any mainstream media controversy over content that appears on what is arguably their most controversial Windows release to date, and one that as a result has quite enough commercial and PR risk attached already. As it stands the content that won’t make the grade would most likely be purchased from other channels anyway.

  20. jokigenki says:

    Why is it no-one can get parental controls right? Windows already includes pretty decent controls (which can control what games are played by rating), so why can’t they just feed those through to the store? It’s hardly rocket science.

  21. Zeewolf says:

    Looking forward to seeing how Microsoft will attempt to cripple Windows 7 to force people to “upgrade” (and, of course, all the “what you can’t expect to use an x year old os in this day and age!”-comments from those who’ve already bought Win 8)

    • Snakejuice says:

      It is socially acceptable to skip one version of windows. But DAMN YOU if you still use Win 7 when Win 9 is out! (Or use Win XP when Win 7 is out :)

  22. Hoaxfish says:

    If I remember correctly there’s a section of the rules for Metro apps that basically rules out any large games (e.g. “app” start times must be within 5 seconds or something), and a lot of the normal game content (e.g. no violence).

    • gattsuru says:

      Specifically, apps must

      3.8 Your app must meet the basic performance criteria on a low-power computer
      The app must launch in 5 seconds or less
      The app must suspend in 2 seconds or less

      Your app must support a snapped layout. In landscape orientation, your app’s functions must be fully accessible when the app’s display size is 1024 x 768. Your app must remain functional when the customer snaps and unsnaps the app.
      Your app must neither programmatically close nor offer UI affordances to close it. Windows 8 Process Lifetime Management closes Windows Store apps automatically.
      Your app must suspend and resume to a reasonable state.

      And while you can theoretically do some fairly extensive calls from WinRT, it’s not terribly good for such, nor very clear the necessary level of code will get through the App Store anyway.

  23. malkav11 says:

    I’m no fan of Windows 8, and I do have some concerns over the app store, but this doesn’t strike me as unusual unless they’ve possibly misidentified what sorts of ratings games get in Britain (I’m no expert on the British rating system either). No retailer and none of the major digital distribution channels in the US will sell games rated above M. Which is by no means okay with me – I think it’s ludicrous and an unpleasant misuse of the ratings system – but it doesn’t make Microsoft’s policy here noteworthy.

  24. MrMud says:

    “In the US, Microsoft are only disinterested in games rated Mature, which makes the American store less exclusive, although still problematic.”

    I think you mean AO. Rating a game as Adult Only is essentially a death sentence for a game in the states so this will have little to no impact.

    • MarigoldFleur says:

      I’m not so sure. Check out games rated PEGI 18: http://www.mobygames.com/attribute/sheet/attributeId,426/

      • MrMud says:

        AO is not the same as PEGI18.
        In fact games routinely get remade if they ever incur the wrath of the AO rating.
        This is because there are several large retail chains in the states that will not carry AO games.

    • Skabooga says:

      Making things a bit odder, using Dishonored as an example, it is rated “M for mature” in the US and “Pegi 18″ in Europe, so barring other factors and restrictions, it would be available for sale in the former area but not in the latter.

  25. Podesta says:

    I wonder if they are going to censor every 17+ sites on Internet Explorer. That would be fun..

  26. Ignorant Texan says:

    If the Windows Store somehow becomes the recognised front of PC gaming, it’s even possible that developers will be encouraged to self-censor in order to gain access to it as a channel.

    That horse left the barn years ago. See Bentonville, Beast from. Although even they sell M rated games.

  27. MarigoldFleur says:

    I decided to take a look at what games are rated PEGI 18 and… wow, okay, Microsoft you’re being all sorts of crazy right now.

    http://www.mobygames.com/attribute/sheet/attributeId,426/

    This isn’t a small list at all and it shows that there’s a bit of a problem because these games go so far as to include things like the Assassin’s Creed series, Bionic Commando: Rearmed, Nier, and Deus Ex: Human Resources. Really, most AAA titles seem to carry a PEGI 18 rating. This is a genuinely perplexing and ultimately… kinda financially stupid decision.

    • Hodge says:

      Deus Ex: Human Resources

      Now that would be a game.

      • diamondmx says:

        “Adam Jenson – we’re promoting you to District Manager”
        “I didn’t ask for this.”

      • Josh W says:

        We have rebuilt him so he can do his job better than ever before, he can now shuffle application forms at lightning speed with his transforming limbs, carry large boxes of papers around, answer phones in his head, directly access computer records, deal with workplace disputes thanks to his casey mod, and we had a spare ball bearing launcher that we gave him for the sake of it.

        That’s great, but we need someone to inflitrate these guys and find out what they’re doing!

        Hmm, we’ll give him stealth too.

        Sounds pretty similar actually!

  28. commenter1008 says:

    so…
    go to http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/apps/hh694083.aspx
    search for table with “Windows Store Age Rating”
    and read
    “Adult content – Note Adult content is not allowed in the Store.”
    that equals to PEGI 18/ ADULT / Z (18+) / 18+ / USK ab 18 in different ratings systems
    and now the question – how is the steam different? or, i dont know, gamestop?

    • commenter1008 says:

      ops, sorry – steam and gamestop are different. in the rest of the world…
      may be microsoft are not aware yet what ratings mean in countries other than usa?

    • MarigoldFleur says:

      Well, for one, you can buy Deus Ex: Human Revolution on Steam. Under this system, you could not if it were to come to the store. PEGI 18 encompasses a lot of titles that would be rated M for Mature here.

  29. Stevostin says:

    “If the Windows Store somehow becomes the recognised front of PC gaming”

    What are the chances ? My games are running on window, so I am not switching to Mac. The licenses are on Steam, so no windows store for me.

  30. gattsuru says:

    If the Windows Store somehow becomes the recognised front of PC gaming…

    Is there any reason to believe — or suspect, or even serious consider — that is likely to happen?

    The Windows Store acts as a gateway… for WinRT-based Windows Apps. That’s not the space people are going to build tomorrow’s The Elder Scrolls in. Or tomorrow’s Minecraft. WinRT’s not a terrible coding language, but it’s worse for game development than .NET. Nor would large distributors particularly want to work within the App Store even if the codebase were strong : anyone that does will find themselves paying more than 20% in overhead to Microsoft.

    It’s not meant to replace normal product sales, or even Windows Games on Demand. It’s an App Store, in line with the Mac App Store or the iOS App Store or the Windows Phone Store. All of which have similar or more restrictive limitations. That means we’ve gotten a lot of closed-environment phones… but that’s because we’ve always had a lot of closed-environment phones.

    Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a good thing, and not just because it’ll end up blocking Mature-rated apps. Other parts of the licensing rules block matters based on whether they’re offensive or blasphemous, for example, and that’s been prone to randomness and abuse in other app stores, and I don’t doubt the PEGI 16+ standard will be just as randomly applied. But that’s bad because it means someone making a NSFW version of Tetris can’t give it a live tile and has to distribute it otherwise, not because we can reasonably expect Microsoft to be trying to close out tomorrow’s Halo.

    • Unaco says:

      “Is there any reason to believe — or suspect, or even serious consider — that is likely to happen?”

      No. It’s not even what MS are pushing it for, even, as you say. It’s an App store.

    • Solidstate89 says:

      No, there really is no chance of it happening. This restriction is because it is a mobile app store for their WinRT consumption tablets, and anyone who does assert that this will be the norm is so full of BS it’s leaking out their ears.

      Desktop application developers can even advertise their programs within the Windows App store but have the advantage of not having to share a percentage of their profits like the WinRT mobile apps. It provides a link to their website. So they actually get to have the advantage of their application being advertized in the Microsoft app store and then have that lead directly to their website where they can download/purchase the application. It’s the best of both worlds to be honest.

      • MarigoldFleur says:

        Not really. Since this encompasses metadata, which has to include ratings (even for desktop apps) this means that PEGI 18 games can’t list there either.

        • Solidstate89 says:

          Do you actually know that, or are you just assuming that? Because those applications are not HOSTED by the App store. They are simply linked.

  31. Dominic White says:

    I’d just like to point out that the Mass Effect series (games which are only fractionally more adult than your average Star Trek: TNG episode) are rated 18+. That puts things nicely in perspective here. That is a reaaaaaaly wide umbrella of games that the rating covers.

  32. frightlever says:

    There’s a certain amount of hoop-jumping involved to be a PC gamer, the sort of gamer that’s going to want to play mature, oddball, graphically violent or sexy games. This is an inconsequential step if you’ve already figured out how to buy games off Steam.

    And this is basically W8 as Walmart, right?

    Also, Adam – watch your back. You’ve just stolen John’s pulpit.

  33. Nihilist says:

    What’s next? Big Bird as US-president because all other candidates are too mature?

  34. Kaishen says:

    I read the same article on Kotaku and now I kinda reads it here too, Windows 8 store, had never really the intention and never had, to have real games on it. It’s basically just apps and games for tablets, just like the Ipad store, and sure you can run them on Windows 8 too but that’s just a plus. And for the second it’s not possible to have a game like Assassins’s Creed 3 or whatever on the Windows 8 store, and have never been their intention. I think people should try out Windows 8 before saying things like this, because clearly, they have never used it.

    • MarigoldFleur says:

      Except you’re kinda wrong. This also affects the listing of desktop apps being linked through the Windows 8 App Store, which reduces the amount of exposure they can get in the Windows 8 App Store in the first place.

  35. Randomer says:

    Actually, I think this sounds a lot like the iOS situation. Google Maps got removed from the main app screen, but you can still get to it via the web browser the way everyone else in the world gets to it.

    • frightlever says:

      Very apt comparison, with many games going online-only and in-browser.

  36. UncleLou says:

    This is not really surprising, Microsoft has followed a comparable policy in Germany for years – as soon as there was a danger of a game in Germany getting no age rating (which does not mean it is “banned”, the system here is actually not that bad, and what you usually read in the English/American press is often wrong) they have not published it at all in favour of a “family friendly” image.

    • Nihilist says:

      Or they censored it in advance (took scenes out, colored blood now green and Humanes became Robots in one game) – a scenario which is much more likely if this Windows 8-store will be relevant.

    • Derezzedjack says:

      I don’t know about you, but games that don’t get a rating in Germany (which it needs to have to be sold openly and to be advertised) are pretty much “banned” so to speak. You’re not allowed to show them openly and only own them privately.
      The german rating system still doesn’t make much sense most of the time, or rather the organisation that approves or disapproves the ratings doesn’t make much sense.

  37. Nikolaos says:

    I made to the shift to Linux (Linux Mint XFCE, for those playing at home) a few months ago now and haven’t looked back. A few teething issues at first but it’s smooth sailing now and I’ve picked my side.

    Microsoft keeps reassuring me that I’ve made the right choice.

    Farewell, Windows. It’s been fun.

    • Nikolaos says:

      *I made the shift to Linux…

      My kingdom for an edit button!

      • Solidstate89 says:

        So…click the edit button?

        • Emeraude says:

          No such thing if you’re blocking all scripts from the page.

          • Nikolaos says:

            *Ding ding ding!* We have a winner!

            Thanks for pointing it out, didn’t realise NoScript was hiding it.

            Guess I owe you a kingdom.

    • subedii says:

      That would be nice, but other than Valve games (and maybe the odd upcoming Kickstarter), most are still Windows or nothing.

      • Nikolaos says:

        I haven’t found myself going without games. Between all the Linux supporting indie titles and WINE (Through PlayOnLinux) I’m doing just fine.

        Really, other than the initial issues with learning a new OS nothing has really changed. My gaming habits are the same as always.

  38. xzalander says:

    5.2 Your app must not contain content that advocates discrimination, hatred, or violence based on membership in a particular racial, ethnic, national, linguistic, religious, or other social group, or based on a person’s gender, age, or sexual orientation
    5.3 Your app must not contain content or functionality that encourages, facilitates or glamorizes illegal activity
    5.4 Your app must not contain or display content that a reasonable person would consider to be obscene
    5.5 Your app must not contain content that is defamatory, libelous or slanderous, or threatening
    5.6 Your app must not contain content that encourages, facilitates or glamorizes excessive or irresponsible use of alcohol or tobacco products, drugs or weapons
    5.7 Your app must not contain content that encourages, facilitates or glamorizes extreme or gratuitous violence, human rights violations, or the creation or use of weapons against a person or animal in the real world
    5.8 Your app must not contain excessive or gratuitous profanity

    —-

    Well there goes 85% of all games in existence. Also theres another clause that states Metadata has to be 12+ or rated EVERYONE so really this whole thing stinks of trying to maximise accessibility, but doing it via blackmail on developers and users.

    Funfact Ballmer, Blackmail. No one likes it. You can hardly say “HEY GUISE WE MADE IT REAL EASY TO JOIN OUR STORE!” and then ask them to meet a million criteria. “Join now in only 1,000 easy steps!”

    • MadTinkerer says:

      Well I suppose Rerto City Rampage will be stuck on Win7 then.

    • Solidstate89 says:

      85% of games out there can’t even run under WinRT anyways. You people are ridiculous. You really think that THIS restriction is going to keep you from purchasing Dishonored through the App store?

      Get a clue. It has nothing to do with content restrictions and everything to do with dev restrictions to managed languages.

    • GiantPotato says:

      “Cannot glamorize the excessive use of weapons” would be very worrying to me if I were designing a Win8-style game. That might as well be an alternate definition for a video game, so I would definitely want some clarification on that point before sinking money into the platform.

  39. MadTinkerer says:

    Those bastards! They’re going to put Big Fish Games out of business, and the rest of the industry will (possibly) be largely unaffected!

  40. Solidstate89 says:

    Before anyone loses their shit and begin using hyperbole (wait… too late) can anyone think of a mobile game that is rated mature? I’m serious, I can’t think of any, and remember that’s what the Windows store is for. Not for desktop programs, but mobile games.

    • MarigoldFleur says:

      This also affects desktop apps that can be listed on the Windows Store (an entirely different mess to this one) which presents more and more problems with exposure.

      • Solidstate89 says:

        It shouldn’t, as it’s not hosted in the App store, it’s simply linked to it. Valve could put a link to Steam in the app store, and then once you download Steam you can access any desktop games you want – just like you already can now. This is a complete non-issue.

        • MarigoldFleur says:

          It’s not a non-issue at all as the desktop app listing process falls under all the same guidelines as the Metro app store. To add to this, the submission process is completely ridiculous and requires things like $500 VeriSign certs. This means that listing a desktop app on the store is, in fact, a more expensive process than putting an app on iOS, the Mac App Store, Steam Greenlight, Android, XBLIG, or really any other digital distribution service there is.

          There is no “best of both worlds” here. The entire Windows App store, like Windows 8 itself, is a complete boondoggle.

          • Solidstate89 says:

            It is a complete non-issue and will remain a non-issue except for those that like to see problems where none exist. Anyone who distributes digital applications should already have a signed cert to begin with – it isn’t an extra cost in anyway what-so-ever. Your opinions do not equate to a mass “boondoggle” in this process.

          • soldant says:

            No, the other guy has the measure of it (Solidstate). In the x86-64 app sector, this will amount to a storm in a teacup. Is it bad for WinRT apps? Possibly, it seems like a fairly silly restriction given that MS also deal in violent games on the 360. But for x86 apps? It’s going to amount to a non-issue. If you’re playing PC games, you’ve got Steam. The Windows Store isn’t going to change that. If you’re a PC gamer interested in these kinds of games you’re very likely savvy enough to know about Steam, or you’re still buying from a brick-and-mortar games store, both of which have nothing to do with the Windows Store. Really, even thinking of including x86 apps in the Windows Store seems absurd to me. There’s no purchasing, just a link, so why would anyone bother? If anyone uses it, they’ll go looking for WinRT apps.

    • Sheng-ji says:

      Max Payne Mobile, Grand Theft Auto 3, Amateur Surgeon – do I need to stop using my memory and turn to google for the complete list or is three enough for you?

      • Solidstate89 says:

        Really, Amateur surgeon is rated Mature?

        • Sheng-ji says:

          Indeed it achieved it’s current fame as being the first M rated game on iPhone.

          • Solidstate89 says:

            I’ve always just known it from the Adult Swim commercials, I never knew it had the fame of being the first M-rated iOS game.

  41. fallingmagpie says:

    For me it’s not that I particularly hate anything about Windows 8, even this bullshit. It’s that I have zero reason to upgrade from Windows 7, which is a fantastic OS. I see myself using it for the next 5 years, happily.

    • soldant says:

      And then we fall into the trap of not having a new OS for ages, bolting on crap to the existing one well past its use-by date. Then everyone howling down the doors when a radical new kernel comes out and support breaks, because nobody bothers to prepare for change. The 5 year plan doesn’t work in tech. What happened with XP wasn’t intended, and it made Vista all the more painful. That bundle of awesome which is Windows 7? That would never have happened if Vista didn’t happen and drag Windows out of 2001 into 2006, kicking and screaming as need be. It took ages for the drivers to catch up, even though they’d had plenty of warning (GPU manufacturers, sound card manufacturers, the lot). Skip Windows 8 if you want, but don’t presume that 5 years between operating systems is a good thing in the consumer sector where tech regularly refreshes.

      • Emeraude says:

        I don’t know. If anything, a decent portion clinging to older OSes had the benefit of slowing down the arm race of tech upgrading on PC, at least as far as games are concerned, which I’d take as a good thing.
        Consoles might have had a greater impact on that front though.

  42. TechnicalBen says:

    “Microsoft appear not only to be shooting themselves in the foot but…”
    I honestly think they went past that loooooooooooong ago.

  43. PC-GAMER-4LIFE says:

    MS do not have a clue most PC best sellers are 18+ go figure how many PC gamers care about this new app store & publishers/developers even less.

    The only decent launch game is Pacman CE DX a superb XBLA title the rest are garbage/shovelware.

    The way things are going now PC will become either Windows 7 only or Valve will be forced to create their own Linux based OS or team up with Google to defeat MS otherwise Windows 8 will swallow up a lot of talent & cause commercial issues for many who depend on how open Windows is right now!

  44. kimded says:

    You do realise this is about “apps” built from their API and not programs that run on the OS? That is to say an app sold on the app-store (like you buy off the apple app store) cant be mature (which I do agree is dumb move), but you can still buy and install software that is so rated as its not sold through the app store…

    There is a world of difference, but hey, why should logic get in the way of a good piece of yellow journalism and nerd-rage.

    • Mctittles says:

      Then can I choose not to have the app store?

      • Solidstate89 says:

        You can choose not to use it and you’ll never see it. You need a Microsoft (or Live, whatever they’re changing the name to) account to purchase from the App Marketplace to begin with. If you don’t have one and you never do get one you’ll never be allowed into the store anyways.

  45. plugmonkey says:

    “It’s hugely, massively, leviathantically important to stress that all software can still be purchased elsewhere and run on a Windows 8 machine”…

    …”But what if the move to Windows 95 had come with similar regulations as to what software would actually work on the new system?”

    What regulations? The ones which, as stated in the very same article, Windows 8 does NOT have?

    I still don’t really understand where all the divers alarums come from on this. Windows 8 has an integrated storefront in it. It’s not a closed system. It’s an open system with an integrated storefront in it. It has a integrated storefront in it because if you’re making an OS in the 21st century, that’s what you put in it. It’s a standard feature.

    How do we know it’s a bad thing? Because Gabe tells us. And he has absolutely no conflicting interest when it comes to digital storefronts…

    To me, it will make absolutely zero difference. To folks like my parents, it will be a massive convenience, giving them ONE PLACE in the entire internet that they trust enough to buy something off.

    Can anyone tell me where this terror is coming from? MS-DOS being phased out of Win95 is not the same kettle of fish as open access to Windows being phased out because they’ve added their own storefront. Those two things are not the same.

    • GiantPotato says:

      It’s more a question of intent at this point than an immediate problem. The open environment still exists as of Windows 8, but Microsoft made it crystal-clear at this point that they don’t want Windows to continue in that direction. This is great news for many people, but it’s toxic for PC hobbyists and enterprise users.

      • Solidstate89 says:

        ” but Microsoft made it crystal-clear at this point that they don’t want Windows to continue in that direction.”

        No they haven’t, they’ve done what Microsoft has provided since Win 3.1 launched. Another option. If you’re a tech illiterate you can stick to using Metro on your tablet or laptop or desktop. All of your applications will automatically be updated and always with the latest security measures and fixed flaws. You never have to worry about accidentally installing malware, etc, etc.

        If you don’t want to use that, HEY WHADDYA KNOW!? There’s an entire desktop environment waiting for you with almost no changes made to it in terms of its UI. And it even has awesome power user enhancements like Storage Pools, a more informative and detailed task manager, built in Hyper-V 3.0 Client support and many more great additions.

        But no. No you’re right. Why would they add such advanced power user options like that if it’s “crystal clear” they’re never going to offer this kind of freedom down the road? Silly me.

        • GiantPotato says:

          Creating an upgrade with almost no changes made to the desktop mode is exactly what makes their new direction so clearly stated. Combine that with their full-bore drive towards a service-oriented model and I don’t think there are a lot of possible interpretations here. Microsoft will support desktop “legacy” mode for as long as they absolutely have to.

          EDIT: BTW, I agree that the release of Windows 8 provides options, just like Windows 3.1 did. In fact, Windows 3.1 provided such a great option that MS-DOS development ended after it was released. So yeah, I think the future of the Microsoft desktop OS is pretty clear.

          • Solidstate89 says:

            So you’re complaining about the addition of the Metro interface (change) but the fact they haven’t drastically changed the desktop (which is what you want – little change to what is believed to be the “ideal” desktop UI) means that they’re going to kill it off despite all of the power user options they’ve added (and that I’ve listed) that can ONLY be accesed via the desktop?

            Do you even understand what the word “contradictory” means? Because you’re contradicting yourself right now quite miserably. There is absolutely no indication what-so-ever that they’ll be completely removing the desktop from Windows. The only place you *might* see it removed is Windows RT which is the tablet only ARM version that can’t run desktop applications to begin with since they’re all coded with x86/x86_64 architecture in mind. You have provided literally no evidence to back anything that you’re stating but you’re preaching it like the gospel.

        • pakoito says:

          Latest Visual Studio limited to spew Metro-only apps is crystal clear for me.

      • plugmonkey says:

        That’s kind of what I’m meaning. Where have MS made it “crystal clear” that they don’t want Windows continuing in this direction? How are people determining this intent?

        I’ve seen them say that they predict a huge proportion of software in the future will be bought through their storefront. And they’re probably right. But predicting that 95% of software will be installed through their storefront by 2020 does not mean they are tracking toward a closed system by 2022. It means they are tracking towards an extremely dominant storefront.

        I have yet to be pointed towards anything that suggests they are planning on switching to a closed system. Their dominance of the business sector is the mainstay of their company. A closed system would end that overnight.

        If that’s the plan, my advice would be: buy shares in Apple.

        Microsoft just want what Apple has. I can’t believe for they plan to do what even Apple don’t do, and I’ve yet to see what it is that has convinced everyone else of this. They’re just copying Apple.

        • Brun says:

          The biggest indicator to many people is their refusal to put in a “Disable Metro” option. Why are they doing this, when so many – including their ever-important enterprise customers – are clamoring for a Desktop-only Windows 8? A logical conclusion is that they’re trying to force people to use Metro (even those on desktops), to force them to get accustomed to it and to the App Store. In other words, they’re preparing people for an all-Metro future.

          • plugmonkey says:

            No, that’s not a logical conclusion. Not being able to turn one feature off is not indicative of another feature being discontinued.

            The logical conclusion is that they want their new storefront to become the dominant storefront.

            If I wanted to do that, I wouldn’t let you turn the damn thing off. That would seem like a bad step toward dominating the market. THAT is logical.

            You can’t leap from that to something that would bankrupt the company and then tell me that it’s likely.

  46. derbefrier says:

    Umm stores refusing to sell Adult rated games is hardly something to flip your shit over. In fact a good majority of them already have similar policies. Ever seen a AO rated game in gamestop, wal-mart, target, the iphone store? didnt think so. The sky is not falling. The world will survive. This isn’t even really newsworthy. Why on earth people would act surprised about this is beyond my understanding.

    • Dominic White says:

      I think you’re not understanding the situation. As I posted above, you know what really huge series has an 18+ rating? Mass Effect. Yes, the same Mass Effect that is (aside from the occasional swear-word), as ‘adult’ as your average Star Trek: TNG episode.

      That’s a good baseline to keep in mind for just how much stuff is blocked from the MS store now.

      • Solidstate89 says:

        Mass Effect does not have an 18+ rating. It has a Mature rating which is 17+. Me thinks people are suffering confusion between the PEGI and ESRB standards. AO is a very different standard than PEGI 18.

        • rawrty says:

          Me thinks someone didn’t read the article.

          • Solidstate89 says:

            I did, did you? The discussion above involved two different rating standards. The article specifically states that games above PEGI 16 or above Mature would be banned. The OP of this particular thread was discussing how that only disallows AO rated games which I could count on one hand. AO are rated as 18+ games here in the States. Mass Effect is not an 18+ game here in the states, but obviously it is with the PEGI standards.

            So hypothetically speaking, Mass Effect could be sold in the U.S. and not in the EU. So yeah, me thinks people are confusing standards with eachother because AO (which is 18+ in the states) is not the equivalent rating to PEGI 18 in Europe.

          • Delusibeta says:

            It’s still a case that the EU version of the Windows Store will flat-out block a wide variety of AAA PC games, which is bad for PC gaming in general.

          • Brun says:

            Solidstate is correct. Europe has no equivalent to “AO,” – PEGI 18 is the highest (most mature) rating for games there, so anything that would fall under the AO designation in the States would, in Europe, be lumped together into the same rating with things that would be rated M.

          • Solidstate89 says:

            @Delusibeta:

            You couldn’t purchase any AAA PC games through the Microsoft App store anyways, regardless of their content or metadata rating.

      • plugmonkey says:

        So, you won’t be able to buy Mass Effect through Metro.

        So, you’ll have to buy it through Origin instead.

        And this is a massive issue because…

        • RobF says:

          Or as is a far more likely outcome given the noises MS are making, you’ll have to purchase it through XBox Live For Windows.

          • Solidstate89 says:

            Xbox Live for Windows is just for the Metro/Mobile games. So no, you couldn’t purchase it through that service.

          • plugmonkey says:

            What noises MS are making? I keep hearing lots of noises. None of them from Microsoft.

            I really would like someone to point me towards any noise from MS that indicates anything other than there being an appstore at the heart of the Win8 UI.

          • RobF says:

            Obviously because it’s clearly ridiculous to assume that after a firm have spent 6 years repositioning the Xbox360 from “game console” to “media box under the tele now with Kinect” and have spent a few years forcing developers to comply with certain demands in order to be published on the 360 that they might just have other plans beyond “just putting a shop into Windows 8″, right?

            Totally the stuff of lunatics and the paranoid, right? That’s entirely why they’d *choose* to relegate the desktop to an app within Windows 8 rather than the default and why they chose to put the touchscreen interface at the fore for desktop users. No other plans here, no no. They’re just putting a shop in, guys! Stop being so silly. Nothing’s being locked down, except the bits that are being locked down and features implemented to make locking down stuff further easier in future. There’s no way any corporation would ever be tempted to put things in place that enable them to lock things down further in future and actually do that locking down. That’d be silly, right? What sort of maniacs would do that?

            Christ. It’s almost like you’re being wilfully stupid.

          • Solidstate89 says:

            Boy that is one slippery slope of unverifiable assumptions you are sliding down. You know what happens when you assume, right? You make an ass out of you and me.

          • RobF says:

            Yes, because I don’t actually really know what Microsoft’s plans are in their entirety. Good spot! For all I know they might have just put a store in Windows 8 and that’s as far as they got. For all you know, they might be planning to become Silver Shamrock and kill every child. So we’re both assuming stuff.

            It seems fairly unlikely to me, given how Microsoft policies have played out over the past six years that it is “just a store”. You’re welcome to disagree with this and only time will tell, right? Although given they’ve announced a number of XBLA ports, I’m not sure there’s much foundation in claiming it’s going to be just for Metro/Mobile titles and I don’t think MS extending the service is that far out either, given XBLA was once just small downloadable titles. Whatever though, we’ll see.

            In the meantime though, I’d much prefer to err alongside being vocal in attempting to keep them on the right side than vaguely hoping they’ll play nice and putting faith in a corporate entity that doesn’t give a shit.

            YMMV there, natch.

          • plugmonkey says:

            “For all you know, they might be planning to become Silver Shamrock and kill every child. So we’re both assuming stuff.”

            No, that doesn’t mean we’re both assuming stuff. Rejecting a paranoid fantasy is not the same as making an assumption. They might be planning that, but there’s no evidence to suggest it, and the notion is ludicrous. They might be planning a closed OS, but there’s no evidence to suggest it, and the notion is ludicrous.

            Should we start being vocal about their child murdering plans? Just in case? That does seem like the more pressing issue…

            All I’m looking for is one person to point me towards one thing MS have said that indicates they have any intention of moving in this direction. Not “Well, they made an Xbox so it stands to reason, innit?”, but something they’ve actually done or said that isn’t entirely consistent with them launching an appstore.

            Until then, I’m going to keep “assuming” that they’re not about to write off the most reliable and profitable sector of their business. Not because I think they’re nice people, but because it makes about as much sense as them moving into child murder – the other thing we’re all apparently making dangerous assumptions on.

          • RobF says:

            There’s nothing reliable about their Windows division anymore. Through 2011 and 2012, Windows has started to take the hit from other devices and OS’ becoming whilst not -as- ubiquitous, a valid option for most people making new device purchases. You can see for yourself, go check out their financials. Enterprise is still ticking along because that’s sorta captive in a lot of ways but the home market is far from safe. It’s entirely possible that enterprise will shrink also with things like the Pi entering the market and with people finding more creative uses of tablets (a la the recent use of iPads as cash registers and such).

            This is the bit that seems to elude you whilst you shout folks down for having concerns. Microsoft will have business sewn up for a fair while to come, OEM installs will prop them up when people buy new desktops for a while to come but desktop PC sales are competing against other devices to give them a further knock and that loss, that’s not going to be a hole that gets magically plugged.

            Absolutely, yes, it would be lunacy for MS to lock the desktop down. It’d also be lunacy for them to do a lot of the things that they do as a corporation but they do them anyway. It’s not a paranoid fantasy to be concerned that Microsoft would do something ridiculous with the desktop because MS repeatedly make ludicrous decisions. It’s far more ridiculous to just assume they won’t do anything idiotic given how they’ve tilted their business in recent times.

            But whatevs, right? Easier just to shout people down, eh?

  47. Paul says:

    Never gonna use Win8 anyway.

  48. fish99 says:

    Hang on, I thought Microsoft already said the store is for metro apps/games, not desktop software or real games, i.e. it’s there for win 8 tabs not desktop PCs. I’m sure I read that somewhere.

    • Solidstate89 says:

      It is, and that’s all you’ll be able to purchase from the App Store. You’ll never have to worry about not being able to purchase and install Dishonored/[insert whatever game here] because it doesn’t follow the App Market standards. It wouldn’t be available through that marketplace anyways. The most they can do is provide a link but nothing more.

      • fish99 says:

        In that case this is a non story, because microsoft were never going to sell anything more than mobile games on there anyway.

  49. GiantPotato says:

    I think it’s a good move for MS to make things clear now, the much more insidious approach (and the one I was afraid they’d try) would be to open the app store to all comers and build walls around it after developers were trapped. But as it is, any publisher out there will know to keep their real money focused on desktop apps for now.

  50. MythArcana says:

    Stupid is imminent. The time of dumb draws nigh.

    • Caiman says:

      That viewpoint would have been correct 10-15 years ago. Today, stupid is well-established and is slowly taking over society at all levels. Aliens visiting the wasteland of our planet in a thousand years will look back and come to the conclusion that we dumbed ourselves to death.