Apparently, the reason Nintendo has been restricting access to mature-rated content in the European eShop is because of German regulations.
A Nintendo of Europe representative explained to Eurogamer that because the company’s European branch is based in Germany, they are required to comply to the law which states that content unsuitable for minors must not be available during the day.
“At Nintendo we always aim to provide a safe gaming experience for fans of all ages and ensure that we comply with applicable legal age restriction requirements across Europe.
“Legal age restriction requirements vary across a number of European countries. Since Nintendo of Europe is based in Germany, Nintendo eShop is complying with German youth protection regulation which therefore applies to all our European markets. Under German law, content rated 18+ must be made available only at night.
“Therefore the accessibility of 18+ content in Nintendo eShop is limited to [USK: 22:00 UTC until 4:00 UTC] [PEGI: 23:00 UTC until 3:00 UTC].”
It seems completely unfair and unreasonable to expect adults to adjust their purchase habits to comply with a law that doesn’t really stop anything. I mean, what kid under the age of 18 hasn’t stayed up past 11 p.m.?