gamescom 2023: Information for exhibitors

As the official youth protection partner of Koelnmesse GmbH, USK, as the German Age Rating Institution for video games, has been comprehensively commissioned to oversee youth protection at gamescom. This includes the age rating of all content (all platforms, including mobile apps, browser games, portals, trailers, game-based stage programs, etc.). In addition, the USK is the first point of contact for all gamescom exhibitors regarding youth protection, whether during the run-up or during the trade fair itself.

As an exhibitor, you are fully responsible for ensuring that your stand and presentations comply with the German Youth Protection Act (JuSchG) requirements. The regulatory authorities will monitor compliance on all days of the fair. To ensure consistent and uniform implementation, Koelnmesse has joined forces with the USK to draw up the regulations described below. These are relevant for gamescom exhibitors in the Entertainment Area.

The organizer (Koelnmesse) will divide visitors at the entrance according to their age (to be proven by photo ID/photo health insurance card) with non-removable wristbands. These wristbands’ colors are analogous to the USK age ratings 12 / 16 / 18, which assist booth personnel with age checks. The parental privilege does not apply on the exhibition grounds!

The main information summarized

  • Deadline for submission in 2023 is August 8th, 3.00 pm CET
  • USK Ratings are only required for the B2C Areas
  • More details about the rating procedure and the application form can be found here
  • The fee schedule can be found here
  • First-time submitters must expect to pay in advance before the rating process starts
  • Games that are already rated by USK can be presented with that rating – even as demo versions
  • IARC labels are only valid within storefronts and not (!) at trade shows
  • Content with an age rating USK 0 / 6 / 12 may be presented publicly
  • Content with an age rating USK 16 / 18 or no rating may only be shown behind closed doors, visitor-controlled. Possible measures include averted monitors away from the public crowd, access controls, or privacy screens. If the game has no USK Rating, you cannot use the USK sticker! Please use generic “18+” or “Adult Only” signs at the entrance
  • Each game station must be marked with the correct USK age rating (sticker), either individually or as part of a row (sticker size individually: min. 3.5×3.5 cm/sticker size for a row: min. 20x20cm)
  • The USK does not (!) provide stickers in advance or on-site
  • Multiple trailers running in endless loops at one location can be submitted as one trailer reel with one application only
  • Streamers and booths with game-oriented live programs, please send a 15-minute “fake presentation” in advance, which then serves as the basis for the rating
  • Indie arenas, schools, or universities with multiple games, coop booths, and country pavilions will receive a USK rating for the entire booth with one application

The responsible authority will increasingly monitor compliance with the Youth Protection Act on-site and initiate appropriate legal measures in case of violations. In the event of violations, there is the threat – in addition to the closure of the booth – of fines in considerable amounts. If you have any questions, problems, or uncertainties concerning the protection of minors, the USK will be happy to help you.

For all youth protection-related questions regarding stand construction, advertising, gimmicks, shows, merchandise, and cooperation, please get in touch with us at

For all questions regarding tickets, reservations, and travel, please get in touch with

Examples of the use of the USK age label at gamescom

Age ratings USK All Ages / 6 / 12: Content with this rating can be shown openly to anybody, though the staff must make sure that “12+ content” must not be actively played by children below 12.


Example: Individual Rating for each station
Example: Zone rating
Example: Zone Rating
Example: Zone Rating
Example: Zone Rating

Age ratings USK 16 / 18 / not rated: Content with this rating can only be shown to visitors of the correct age group. Separate rooms, turned monitors and privacy screens are the choice to make sure no visitors below the required age can see that content. Access control to these areas must be conducted by the booth personnel.

Example: Separate room
Example: Privacy screen
Example: Privacy screen

Marek Brunner