USK LogoFor many years, the computer and video games industry has championed responsible handling and age-appropriate use of games. Like films, all games sold on the German market are evaluated according to criteria intended to protect minors; these games are assigned a corresponding age rating by the Entertainment Software Self-Regulation Body (USK).
The USK was voluntarily established by the computer and video games industry in 1994, as a joint initiative by the industry and retailers. All games submitted to the body are reviewed and assigned an age rating by the Permanent Representative of the Supreme Youth Protection Authorities of the German Federal States (OLJB) if they meet the provisions of German youth protection law. This means that at the end of this joint process, government representatives assign the age ratings.
The game’s age rating must be clearly visible on the packaging as well as on the data storage medium itself. Retailers are required to ensure that they only sell age-appropriate games to their customers; the labelling allows parents to see the age rating and determine which games are suitable for their children. The game association is a shareholder of the USK.