||computer game ratings
a USK verification compared with a PEGI
verification on a Nintendo DS
Unterhaltungssoftware Selbstkontrolle (English: Entertainment Software Self-Regulation Body, abbreviation USK) is the official computer games rating organization in Germany. All ratings by USK are official and fall under law, so you must appreciate them. You have to show the seller your passport if you fall under age restrictions: USK ensures that computer games are only sold to children and young people if the contents of the games have been approved as OK for them.
The USK has been founded in 1994 and has it headquarters in Berlin, Germany. Around 30,000 video games have been checked for approval since the beginning; every year more than 1,000 games are submitted by publishers. USK defines itself as "the strictest age classification rules in the world". The game isn't allowed to be sold in Germany if there is no USK verification.
||Freigegeben ohne Altersbeschränkung gemäß § 14 JuSchG (Without age restrictions)
- Everyone can play this game without fear. But some games can still be too difficult for younger children.
||Freigegeben ab 6 Jahren gemäß § 14 JuSchG (Restricted for those below the age of 6)
- Children below the age of 6 aren't allowed to play such games because there might be some themes they cannot / may not understand.
||Freigegeben ab 12 Jahren gemäß § 14 JuSchG (Restricted for those below the age of 12)
- Those games have a more deeper theme like war and lite violence.
||Freigegeben ab 16 Jahren gemäß § 14 JuSchG (Restricted for those below the age of 16)
- May have adult themes content like gunfights and moderate violence (but still no really brutal).
||Freigegeben ab 18 Jahren gemäß § 14 JuSchG or Keine Jugendfreigabe gemäß § 14 JuSchG (Restricted for those below the age of 18)
- These games often contain scenes of brutal, real covered violence or sexual content.
Rating procedure [change]
- Publisher submits game
- Testers play through the game completely
- Tester presents the game to the classification committee
- Game is being discussed
- Voting of the committee
- Permanent representater is making a decision
- Game is being rated and submitted to the publisher
- Publisher accepts or declines (if he declines, game is not being published in Germany)