Gods Unchained Booted from Epic Games Store Following ‘Adults Only’ Classification

Currently, the nonfungible token (NFT) game team is attempting to appeal to the ESRB ranking to return to Epic’s store.

Following its inclusion in the Epic Games Stores in June, Gods Unchained, Immutable’s nonfungible token (NFT) card game, was silently removed. According to a media outlet, the removal happened after the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) gave the PC game an ‘Adults Only’ ranking.

Titles with an Adults Only ESRB rating are not permitted on Epic Games marketplace. As of March 2023, it hosted more than 1548 games, which includes Grand Theft Auto 5, Fortnite, and a rising number of blockchain games. According to the ESRB, an AO rating means the game is only appropriate for persons above 18, while an M (Mature) rating indicates a title suitable for persons above 17.

Epic Games Store’s Treatment Based Upon ESRB Rating

According to Epic’s website, unrated games get similar treatment as those with Mature ratings. A Gods Unchained spokesperson told a media outlet that, at present, they are not live on Epic Store because of ESRB’s re-rating of Gods Unchained as AO.

Additionally, the situation is caused by the presence of play-to-earn elements in their game. Gods Unchained also said they are cooperating with rating boards on an appeal and will disclose additional information soon.

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ESRB was established in 1994 and is committed to age-limited video games distributed in Canada and the United States. Parents are able to make suitable decisions regarding the games bought for their children, and purchasers can acquire a perspective of a game’s violence level or other mature themes.  

In an email, an ESRB spokesperson told a media outlet that Gods Unchained has the most limiting ‘Adults Only’ rating. An Xbox post shows that it is assigned to games that might comprise ‘lengthy extreme violence scenes and/or nudity or explicit sexual content.’ Further, the post claims that Microsoft does not permit Only-rated titles.

Nudity or violence were not the reasons for Gods Unchained’s AO rating. The most restrictive rating was given due to the manner in which its crypto elements function in the game. The ESRB revealed to a media outlet that its age and content ranking system evaluates if products might gift actual money and prizes with actual world value.

Additionally, it assesses if something can be changed into or exchanged for actual money, such as cryptocurrency or gift cards. It also evaluates if cash is utilized to be eligible for these rewards.

According to God Unchained’s website, players can get the GODs token for winning matches. Later, they can be converted to Ethereum and traded if one wishes to. Further, players can win nonfungible token cards that can be sold for crypto on marketplaces. According to some Reddit users, Gods Unchained was not on the Epic Store in October.

Additionally, others said they witnessed the game live for a ‘short time’ prior to it becoming unavailable. A media outlet has contacted Immutable Games, Gods Unchained’s publisher, for comment concerning the game’s exact time of removal.

Epic Games Store’s Guideline Establish Catch-22 for Game Developers

The Epic Games Stores guidelines might have established a catch-22 for game developers. Despite Epic Games permitting blockchain games on its store, the statement by ESRB shows that the Adults Only rating being provided to games that permit players to earn things with ‘actual-world value,’ for instance, nonfungible tokens or crypto, could result in the removal of more blockchain games.

Present guidelines show that game developers will not merely keep their games unranked following their full unveiling. According to Epic’s store guidelines for blockchain games, such games ‘should be rated in all locations of distribution.’ This guideline also covers games unveiled in ‘early access.’

An Epic Games spokesperson was contacted by a media outlet for comment concerning God Unchained’s removal from Epic’s store. They said that they generally cannot speak on behalf of other developers.

Will Epic Store Ban Crypto-based Games?

Epic Games has been reached for additional comment concerning its reason for banning adult-only-rated games and allowing blockchain games on its platform. Taking into account the number of comparable blockchain games being developed that provide nonfungible tokens or tokens to players for winning matches, people might question if more crypto games are going to be banned from the Epic Store in the future because of their ESRB ratings.

An ESRB spokesperson said that despite not being a blanket regulation, an application or a game warranting an AO rating class assignment is possible because of a blend of those factors. They referred to games that provide things with actual-world value to players.

Editorial credit: Ira Lichi / Shutterstock.com 

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