The International Age Rating Coalition (IARC) is a group made up of the organisations responsible for assigning age ratings to online games and apps from around the world. Since its founding in 2013, IARC has provided a system that technical platforms such as mobile app stores have been able to integrate into their sites to help protect young people. This system makes it possible for providers of individual products to classify their content according to a questionnaire. The age rating is determined based on this classification according to the standards set out by the respective national self-regulation body (in Germany, the USK).
The USK regularly reviews IARC classifications in order to ensure their quality. Complaints from users can also trigger a review. The legal basis for the USK’s use of this system is the German Interstate Treaty on the Protection of Minors (JMStV), which certified the USK as a self-regulation body in 2011. Age ratings under youth protection law are the result of a separate evaluation procedure, in which government representatives assign the age rating after a joint process with the USK. These age rating labels also look different from IARC labels and are primarily used for games sold by bricks-and-mortar retailers.