Gods Unchained, the renowned NFT card game from Immutable, has encountered an unexpected obstacle. Recently, the game was removed from the Epic Games Store, a platform that houses an impressive variety of more than 1,548 titles, including hits like “Fortnite” and “Grand Theft Auto 5”. The reason? A reclassification by the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) labeling “Gods Unchained” as “Adults Only” (AO).
This ESRB decision has brought to light simmering discussions about the implications of the ‘play to earn’ elements incorporated into “Gods Unchained”. The AO rating is generally reserved for games intended exclusively for adults, typically due to extreme violence or explicitly sexual content. Interestingly, in the case of “Gods Unchained”, the rating was not due to such content, but rather to its innovative cryptographic elements.
The Epic Games Store’s policy is clear: no AO-rated titles are allowed on their marketplace. This criterion, which might seem simple at first, raises an intriguing question about the future of blockchain games on the platform. “Gods Unchained” offers players the ability to earn the GODS token by winning matches, which can be exchanged for Ethereum and sold, in addition to tradable NFT cards.
A representative for “Gods Unchained” expressed to the public, “We are currently not live on the Epic Games Store due to the ESRB reclassification of Gods Unchained as adults-only due to the play-to-win-gift elements in our game.” They also emphasized that they are working with the classification boards to appeal the decision.
The ESRB, founded in 1994, plays a vital role in rating video games, helping parents and buyers understand the maturity level of games. In response to questions about the game’s removal, an ESRB representative confirmed that the AO rating was given because of the possibility of rewards with real value, such as cryptocurrencies or gift cards.
Meanwhile, on the Epic Games Store, policy requires that all blockchain games be rated in all regions where they will be distributed. This rule even applies to games in “early access,” creating a unique challenge for developers looking to integrate cryptocurrencies and NFTs into their games.
The “Gods Unchained” situation raises important questions about how the gaming industry will adapt and embrace innovations in blockchain and NFTs. The ESRB’s AO rating could mean an uncertain future for many other planned crypto games, given the trend of offering tokens or NFTs to victorious players.
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