Epic Games announced on Tuesday that modifications to its content policies have permitted the resumption of the NFT card game Gods Unchained on the Epic Games Store.
Gods Unchained, similar to other blockchain-based games such as Striker Manager 3, had been previously excluded from the Epic Games Store because of their Entertainment Software Rating Board’s (ESRB) “Adults Only” rating.
Before Tuesday’s policy change, Epic’s store did not permit games with an AO rating.
An Epic Games representative stated via email, “Some blockchain-based games are receiving Adults Only (AO) classifications from industry rating bodies due to their particular implementation of blockchain.”
“Our content policy for the Epic Games Store has been amended to permit AO-rated games that utilize blockchain or NFT technology exclusively,” the representative stated.
The ESRB assigns AO classifications to games deemed appropriate exclusively for individuals aged 18 and above.
The play-to-earn features of Gods Unchained, which can award players with NFTs or crypto tokens with “real-world value,” earned an AO rating, as previously explained by the ESRB.
“The ESRB age and content rating system evaluates whether products offer monetary rewards, prizes with tangible value, or items that can be converted or exchanged for real money (e.g., gift cards, cryptocurrency), in addition to whether players are required to spend cash to qualify for such rewards,” the ESRB stated previously.
Typically, games that feature explicit sexual themes, extreme violence, or nudity receive AO ratings, the most stringent classification. At this time, Xbox and PlayStation prohibit the play of AO-rated titles on their respective platforms.
Epic Games is currently prepared to grant an exemption from its policy prohibiting AO games for blockchain-based games that, were it not for their cryptocurrency or NFT components, would not be rated as such.
Previously, the matter presented a significant dilemma for game developers, as Epic, unlike competitor Steam, permits blockchain-based games on its platform. However, in the past, AO-rated games were not accepted.
However, Epic Games emphasized that its policies prohibiting “porn,” “gambling,” and “hateful content” remain in effect, so developers of blockchain-based games will still be required to comply with these limitations.
Despite the likelihood that blockchain games that provide players with “real-world value” will continue to receive Adults Only ESRB classifications, at least they will remain listed on the Epic Games Store.