Pearl Abyss Enforces Rough UK Account Limits

Due to UK data security laws.

If you are a teenager, you’ll need to get your parent’s consent to play Shadow Arena and Black Desert Online in an update coming September 1. The changes are due to the UK’s Age Appropriate Design Code, legislation meant to set standards for information obtained by underage users. It’s like America’s COPPA laws but for everyone under 18 rather than 13.

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) in the United Kingdom has announced the Children’s Code (or Age Appropriate Design Code). In accordance with this data protection code, we will be changing sign-ups and game/paid services to require the consent of parental/legal guardians for Players under the age of 18 starting Wednesday, September 1, 2021.

Players who are under the age of 18 will need their parent’s permission in order to play Pearl Abyss games after September 1. How do you get your parent’s permission? You click a button that says “I am parent and I give permission.” There is another odd factor where new and existing accounts for players between 16-18 on Steam still won’t be able to use paid services for a period of time. Pearl Abyss gives no information on what extent that timeline is.

(However, if you are playing Shadow Arena through Steam, you will temporarily not be able to use paid services even after receiving your parental/legal guardian’s consent and setting up their payment method. We will provide an announcement when you are able to use paid services.)

Even stranger is that the play time limits are apparently mandatory. In another post, Pearl Abyss strongly indicates that players between 16-18 will not be able to play period, even after agreeing to parental consent, until some sort of game time limit is added to the account. It’s completely possible that the guardian time limit has an option for unlimited, but the website is currently not available in English.

Players between the ages of 16 and 18 must first have their parental/legal guardian set up game time limits (parental controls) in order to play the game. Even if you’ve received your parental/legal guardian’s consent when signing up, you will receive a restriction message when you start the game from the launcher if your parental/legal guardian has not set up play time limits.

The good news is that these changes only apply to accounts based in the UK, British Virgin Islands, and British Indian Ocean Territory. The bad news is for those players in those territories, that means you. The parental permission bit is understandable but the enforced time limits and waiting period for buying goods seems rather rough.

From my understanding, the UK law this is responding to is about data protection and has nothing really to do with enforcing limits on gameplay. If I’m wrong, feel free to correct me in the comments. It doesn’t seem like other companies who have announced changes are talking about imposing mandatory play limits, but simply having robust parental controls and not having systems in games accessible to children that nudge them to keep playing.

Again, I could be completely wrong in my interpretation.

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