Gods Unchained axed from Epic Games store

In this post:

  • Immutable NFT card game Gods Unchained has been removed from the Epic Games store.
  • ESRB’s AO ratings and the dilemma for blockchain games.

Immutable’s Gods Unchained, an NFT card game, found itself in a predicament after being added to the Epic Games Store in June. The cause of the turmoil was an unexpected “Adults Only” (AO) rating bestowed upon the game by the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB).

Epic Games store axes Gods Unchained from its store

The consequences of this rating were profound since Epic Games Store prohibits titles with an AO rating on its platform, which hosts a diverse array of games, including blockbusters like Fortnite and Grand Theft Auto 5. An AO rating from the ESRB signifies that a game is suitable only for individuals aged 18 and above, while a “Mature” (M) rating allows for those aged 17 and older. Epic Games treats unrated games akin to those with a Mature rating, adding an extra layer to the predicament faced by Gods Unchained.

The reason behind Gods Unchained’s AO rating wasn’t the conventional fare of intense violence or explicit content. Instead, it was the game’s incorporation of play-to-earn elements involving cryptocurrency. Players of Gods Unchained can earn the GODS token and NFT cards through in-game achievements, which can then be exchanged for Ethereum or sold on various crypto marketplaces. A representative for Gods Unchained stated that the game is not presently live on the Epic Games Store due to the ESRB re-rating Gods Unchained as Adults Only.

He also mentioned that this was due to the play-to-earn elements present within the game. However, he said that the team is actively engaged in appealing the rating and working closely with rating boards to find a resolution. The ESRB, established in 1994, serves the crucial role of assigning ratings to video games distributed in the U.S. and Canada. This facilitates informed decision-making for parents and buyers, providing insights into a game’s appropriateness for different age groups and the nature of its content.

ESRB’s AO ratings and the dilemma for blockchain games

The decision to apply an AO rating to Gods Unchained, not due to violence or nudity but the presence of crypto elements, raises questions about the evolving intersection between traditional game ratings and the burgeoning world of blockchain-based mechanics. The ESRB’s rating system now assesses whether a game provides rewards with real-world value, including cryptocurrency and NFTs, introducing a novel dimension to the evaluation process.

Gods Unchained players finding themselves in possession of the GODS token or NFT cards faced an unexpected consequence – the game’s removal from the Epic Games Store. Reports from Reddit users indicated a relatively brief appearance on the platform in October, further complicating the narrative of Gods Unchained’s integration with mainstream gaming platforms. This scenario exposes a potential catch-22 for game developers venturing into the blockchain space.

While Epic Games supports blockchain games on its store, the ESRB’s stance that any game involving rewards with real-world value could warrant an AO rating could trigger similar removals in the future. The nuanced landscape is further complicated by Epic’s store rules mandating ratings for blockchain games in all regions, even during early access. In response to inquiries about Gods Unchained’s removal, an Epic Games representative stated that the platform can’t speak for other developers and directed queries to Immutable.

The lack of clarity in this instance sparks contemplation about the fate of other blockchain games on the Epic Games Store, especially those integrating tokens or NFTs as in-game rewards. While not an outright rule, the ESRB suggests that games offering real-world value could potentially receive an Adults Only rating. This uncertainty underscores the ongoing challenge of reconciling traditional game ratings with the innovative dynamics introduced by blockchain technology in the gaming industry.

Disclaimer. The information provided is not trading advice. Cryptopolitan.com holds no liability for any investments made based on the information provided on this page. We strongly recommend independent research and/or consultation with a qualified professional before making any investment decisions.

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