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USK redirects here. For the Usinsk airport, see Usinsk Airport.
The USK's official logo.

Unterhaltungssoftware Selbstkontrolle (German Self-Monitoring of Entertainment Software) or USK, is Germany's software rating organization.

Contents

Ratings

Without age restrictions
Freigegeben ohne Altersbeschränkung gemäß § 14 JuSchG (Without age restrictions)
There are no restrictions on the basis of the Jugendschutzgesetz on the sale of this game. The suitability for children, however, only relates to violent or sexual content - the difficulty or complexity of the game may still be unsuited to younger children.
Restricted for those below the age of 6
Freigegeben ab 6 Jahren gemäß § 14 JuSchG (Restricted for those below the age of 6)
Games with this rating may be of an abstract or comical nature, may have a darker theme or may be too involving for children under the age of 6. This may include games like Point Blank, the Mario Kart series, Lego Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy and Super Mario Galaxy.
Restricted for those below the age of 12
Freigegeben ab 12 Jahren gemäß § 14 JuSchG (Restricted for those below the age of 12)
Games with this rating may place a focus on wars or fighting of some description, or contain mild lyrics and suggestive themes. The fighting should be in a historical or science fiction context and the violence should be kept to a minimum. This may include games like Ninja Assault, Super Smash Bros. Brawl, 3 games of the Need for Speed series (Most Wanted, Carbon, Undercover) Midnight Club: Los Angeles and Leisure Suit Larry: Box Office Bust.
Restricted for those below the age of 16
Freigegeben ab 16 Jahren gemäß § 14 JuSchG (Restricted for those below the age of 16)
Games featuring frequent one-on-one gunfights and moderate violence (no visible blood) will receive this rating. The game may cover adult themes. This include games like Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Double Agent, Metroid Prime 3: Corruption,Fahrenheit and Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising
Restricted for those below the age of 18
Freigegeben ab 18 Jahren gemäß § 14 JuSchG or Keine Jugendfreigabe gemäß § 14 JuSchG (Restricted for those below the age of 18)
These games may contain scenes of brutal, moderately bloody violence, and they may glorify war or violation of human rights. This may include games like Halo 3, Doom 3, Hitman: Blood Money and Bayonetta.

The rating for specific games may refer to localised versions, in which some elements of the game are changed in order to achieve a lower rating, or to ensure that the game may be legally sold at all. For example, the German versions of the Grand Theft Auto series Parts III,Vice City & San Andreas has been edited in various parts, while the North American and PAL versions received no rating at all (and may therefore only be sold to adults). The German version of GTA III received an "USK 18" rating, although it was the censored version. The uncensored versions of GTA Vice City and GTA San Andreas are banned ("indiziert", see below). The German versions feature no headshots and are less gory, as well as having some weapons or their special effects removed. Additionally, civilians do not drop money when being killed and some missions are missing. Grand Theft Auto IV however, has not been edited and received an "USK 18" rating.

This is a very common practice, especially for games that would usually receive a "USK 18" rating. A potential problem of this "self-censorship" is that the original ambience of a game may get lost. In some cases, the whole plot of a game had to be changed to qualify for a lower USK rating.

The Index

Games that are refused classification are referred to the Bundesprüfstelle für jugendgefährdende Medien (Federal Verification Office for Youth-Endangering Media) and can be placed on the Index (a process known in German as Indizierung - therefore 'indexed'), upon which the titles may only be sold on request to adults over the age of 18, and are not to be advertised in retail stores or any other media. It is permitted to use these titles in private but not to supply them to minors.

Censoring and blacklisting

Until 2003 it was still possible for USK-rated games to be blacklisted in Germany, but as of 2003, USK-rated entertainment software can not be put on the so-called Index anymore. Games with a USK 18 rating are not necessarily uncut, due to distributors striving for a rating. An unrated game may be released and sold until further notice, but is forbidden to be sold to minors below 18 years old, even if it is clearly targeted at kids. The USK can reject a rating if they find parts of it to be unlawful, glorify war or show suffering people in violation of human dignity. Then the BPjM can test whether to put the game on the Index or not. Microsoft, for instance, chose not to sell any games that the USK rejected a rating for in Germany at all, as was the case with Dead Rising, Ninja Gaiden II and Gears of War to avoid public disapproval.

The ban on endorsing Nazism or displaying swastikas outside of a historical context applies to all titles. To avoid legal issues, many developers remove the reference to swastikas altogether, replacing it with the symbol of the 3rd Reich's Army, a version of the Iron Cross. On the other hand, it is permitted to feature a function in which one can assume the role of the German army in World War II as in games such as Sudden Strike and Axis & Allies, although this is a subject of controversy.

See also

External links


Strategy wiki

Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From StrategyWiki, the free strategy guide and walkthrough wiki

Unterhaltungssoftware Selbstkontrolle (German Voluntary Monitoring Organisation of Entertainment Software) or USK, is Germany's software rating organisation. Since the modification of the Jugendschutzgesetz (Youth Protection Law) in 2003, it is now compulsory for all titles that are to be sold to the wider public to carry a USK mark.

Contents

Ratings

Software can receive one of the following ratings:

Without age restrictions
Freigegeben ohne Altersbeschränkung gemäß § 14 JuSchG (Without age restrictions)

There are no restrictions on the basis of the Jugendschutzgesetz on the sale of this game. The suitability for children, however, only relates to violent or sexual content - the difficulty or complexity of the game may still be unsuited to younger children.

Restricted to those below the age of 6
Freigegeben ab 6 Jahren gemäß § 14 JuSchG (Restricted to those below the age of 6)

Games with this rating may be of an abstract or comical nature, may have a darker theme or may be too involving for children under the age of 6.

Restricted to those below the age of 12
Freigegeben ab 12 Jahren gemäß § 14 JuSchG (Restricted to those below the age of 12)

Games with this rating may place a focus on wars or fighting of some description. The fighting should be in a historical or science fiction context and the violence should be kept to a minimum.

Restricted to those below the age of 16
Freigegeben ab 16 Jahren gemäß § 14 JuSchG (Restricted to those below the age of 16)

Games featuring frequent one-on-one gunplay and moderate violence will receive this rating. The game may cover adult themes.

Restricted to those below the age of 18
Freigegeben ab 18 Jahren gemäß § 14 JuSchG or Keine Jugendfreigabe gemäß § 14 JuSchG (Restricted to those below the age of 18)

These games may contain scenes of brutal, moderately bloody violence, and they may glamorise war or violation of human rights.

The Index

Games that are refused classification are referred to the Bundesprüfstelle für jugendgefährdende Medien (Federal Verification Office for Youth-Endangering Media) and can be placed on the Index (a process known in German as Indizierung), upon which the titles may only be sold on request to adults over the age of 18, and are not to be advertised in retail stores or other media. It is permitted to use these titles in private but not to supply them to minors. Games that are on the index are marked with JK/SPIO-Gutachten.

Censoring and banning

Games with a USK 18 rating or those placed on the index are not necessarily uncut, although as a general rule they are, with a number of exceptions. It is still possible for games to be banned in Germany - as is the case with titles such as Manhunt (violence) and the English version of Wolfenstein 3D (Nazi symbolism), which are not even available "under the counter" per the Index.

The ban on endorsing Nazism or displaying swastikas outside of a historical context applies to all titles. To avoid legal issues, many developers remove the reference to swastikas altogether, although the symbol of the 3rd Reich' s Army is still permitted. It is also permitted to feature a function in which one can assume the role of the German army in World War II as in games such as Sudden Strike and Axis and Allies, although this is a subject of controversy.

External link


Gaming

Up to date as of February 01, 2010

From Wikia Gaming, your source for walkthroughs, games, guides, and more!

The Unterhaltungssoftware Selbstkontrolle system (USK for short) is the video game rating system used in Germany.

Software is either classified into one of five ratings, or refused classification. The five ratings are listed below.

Contents

Ratings

The rating for specific games may refer to localised versions, in which some elements of the game are changed in order to achieve a lower rating, or to ensure that the game may be legally sold at all. For example, the German version of Grand Theft Auto (since part three) has been edited in various parts, while the US-version of Grand Theft Auto received no rating at all (and may therefore only be sold to adults). The German, "USK 16" version features no headshots, and is less gory, as well as having some weapons or their special effects removed. Additionally, civilians don't drop money when being killed and some missions are missing.

This is a very common practice, especially for games that would usually receive a "USK 18" rating. A potential problem of this "self-censorship" is that the original ambience of a game may get lost. In some cases, the whole plot of a game had to be changed to qualify for a lower USK rating.

All (Without Restriction)

Image:USK_none.png Games with this rating Freigegeben ohne Altersbeschränkung gemäß § 14 JuSchG (Without age restrictions)(USK: All) are deemed appropriate for all ages and may be sold without restriction. There are no restrictions on the basis of the Jugendschutzgesetz on the sale of this game. The suitability for children, however, only relates to violent or sexual content - the difficulty or complexity of the game may still be unsuited to younger children.

Restricted for those below the age of 6

Image:USK_6.png Games with this rating Freigegeben ab 6 Jahren gemäß § 14 JuSchG (Restricted for those below the age of 6)(USK: 6+) may be unsuitable for children under the age of 6. Games with this rating may be of an abstract or comical nature, may have a darker theme or may be too involving for children under the age of 6.

Restricted for those below the age of 12

Image:USK_12.png Games with this rating Freigegeben ab 12 Jahren gemäß § 14 JuSchG (Restricted for those below the age of 12)(USK: 12+) may be unsuitable for children under the age of 12. Games with this rating may place a focus on wars or fighting of some description. The fighting should be in a historical or science fiction context and the violence should be kept to a minimum

Restricted for those below the age of 16

Image:USK_16.png Games with this rating Freigegeben ab 16 Jahren gemäß § 14 JuSchG (Restricted for those below the age of 16)(USK: 16+) may be unsuitable for children under the age of 16. Games featuring frequent one-on-one gunfights and moderate violence will receive this rating. The game may cover adult themes.

Restricted for those below the age of 18

Image:USK_18.png Games with this rating Freigegeben ab 18 Jahren gemäß § 14 JuSchG or Keine Jugendfreigabe gemäß § 14 JuSchG (Restricted for those below the age of 18)(USK: 18+ may be unsuitable for children under the age of 18. These games may contain scenes of brutal, moderately bloody violence, and they may glorify war or violation of human rights.

The Index

Games that are refused classification are referred to the Bundesprüfstelle für jugendgefährdende Medien (Federal Verification Office for Youth-Endangering Media) and can be placed on the Index (a process known in German as Indizierung), upon which the titles may only be sold on request to adults over the age of 18, and are not to be advertised in retail stores or other media. It is permitted to use these titles in private but not to supply them to minors.

Banning and Censoring

Games with a USK 18 rating or those placed on the index are not necessarily uncut, although as a general rule they are, with a number of exceptions. It is still possible for games to be banned in Germany—as is the case with titles such as Manhunt (violence) and the English version of Return to Castle Wolfenstein (Nazi symbolism), which are not even available "under the counter" per the Index.

As of 2003, entertainment software sold in Germany does not have to be USK-rated but without the rating it is automatically forbidden to be sold to minors below 18 years old. Microsoft, for instance, chose not to sell Gears of War in Germany as the USK rejected to give it an official rating, which means the same as the rating 18+ but also gives the BPjM the right to test whether to put the game on the Index or not—which they did shortly after.

The ban on endorsing Nazism or displaying swastikas outside of a historical context applies to all titles. To avoid legal issues, many developers remove the reference to swastikas altogether, although the symbol of the 3rd Reich' s Army is still permitted. It is also permitted to feature a function in which one can assume the role of the German army in World War II as in games such as Sudden Strike and Axis and Allies, although this is a subject of controversy.

References

Smallwikipedialogo.png This page uses content from Wikipedia. The original article was at Unterhaltungssoftware Selbstkontrolle. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with Wikia Gaming, the text of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 (unported) license.



Game Rating
Americas
ESRB (United States/Canada)
Europe
PEGI (most of Europe) • BBFC (UK) • ELSPA (UK, retired) • USK (Germany) • VET (Finland)
Asia
CERO (Japan, console) • EOCS (Japan, PC)
Australia/New Zealand
OFLC (Australia)OFLC (New Zealand)

External Links

  • USK

This article uses material from the "Unterhaltungssoftware Selbstkontrolle" article on the Gaming wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.







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