Microsoft has reversed a controversial decision that created a strange gap between which games would be allowed on the digital Windows 8 Store in America and which would be allowed on its European counterpart, thanks to a discrepancy in the way those regions’ ratings boards handle similar games.

Originally, Microsoft planned to have the Windows 8 Store block games that received an ESRB rating of Adults Only (AO) in the US or a PEGI 18 rating in Europe (such Windows 8 games could still be bought at retail, or from digital services like Steam, but not from Microsoft’s official digital store). This plan ended up being much more restrictive on the European version of the store, though, because the top-level 18 rating covers a wide range of games that would only merit a Mature (M) rating in North America. Titles ranging from Dishonored and Doom 3 to Serious Sam 3, Bioshock, and hundreds of others would have been perfectly allowable on the US Windows 8 store, but not in Europe.

Today, Microsoft announced that it would be reversing that decision, allowing PEGI 18 games that also received a Mature rating from the ESRB in its store. Games that receive an AO rating from the ESRB will still be banned from the store in both regions, but very few games merit such a rating, and the ones that do are usually better classified as straight up pornography than real games.

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via Ars Technica » Technology Lab