Koelnmesse has officially assigned USK (Entertainment Software Self-Regulation Body) as the youth-protection authority at gamescom. This task encompasses the age rating of any kind of content that is intended to be exhibited (all platforms including mobile apps, browser games, game portals as well as trailers, stage presentations, and other content). Additionally, USK serves as the primary contact for all gamescom exhibitors with regard to any youth-protection-related issues, whether prior to or during the fair itself.
As an exhibitor, you are entirely responsible for ensuring that your booth and presentation conform to German youth protection requirements under the provisions of the German Children and Young Persons Protection Act (“JuSchG”). Compliance is validated by the regulatory authorities during the fair. For the purpose of consistent and uniform implementation, Koelnmesse and USK have jointly adopted the regulations described below. These regulations apply to ALL exhibitors at gamescom’s entertainment area.
All B2C presentations of games, trailers,s and game-based presentations need to be rated by the USK to show them to the public. Unrated content can only be presented to adults in separate areas. Trailers and software without games-related content like company trailers, recruiting videos, or hardware trailers do not need a rating.
The deadline for submission in 2022 is August 9th, 3 pm CET.
Content must be sent with the submission form attached to or via mail. Games and trailers can be sent as discs, USB flash drives, keys, and vouchers, via link or FTP. Multiple trailers within one trailer reel and one submission form will be rated as one collection resulting in one final rating.
The rating fees are based on the current cost regulations.
Games and trailers shown in the business area DO NOT need a rating for gamescom in 2022!
National pavilions or school and university projects shown in the consumer area presenting different prototypes, trailers and products should submit an application with all contents and a content lists for which an overall pavilion rating (max. USK 12+ for the open area) will be provided. In the case that individual contents deviate from the USK approval applied for (e.g. the whole collection is USK 12, but one game is more likely USK 16), these may be removed from the collection and rated separately with additional costs. Another option would be to not rate these contents at all and only show it to visitors 18+ in a separate area.
Please submit a 10-minute “fake livestream” that includes the usual game elements, presentation points and live commentary. Approval can then be given for this content and commentary style, and is valid for a presentation of the game with similar content.
At the Trade Fair
All gaming stations in the B2C-Area must be labeled with the correct rating so visitors can easily get the age rating information. Parallel to the law, the sticker size should be at least 3,5×3,5cm. Monitors/walls showing trailers do not need to display a USK rating nor does the trailer itself need to display one.
Zone Ratings: If the same game is shown on multiple units in a row or in one area, labeling all units is not necessary. The entrance or the back wall behind the units can be labeled instead, we recommend using at least 20x20cm stickers then.
Please find the sticker templates here. The USK will not bring stickers to the gamescom.
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.
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.
- Companies who are in contact with the USK for the first time automatically fall under the rule of pre-payment. Please plan sufficient time for the clearance of all payments.
- If your company aims to show a segment from a full product at gamescom, please tic “trade fair” on the submission form and inform us about the content presented.
- Games or demos that already feature an earlier USK rating and have not changed in terms of youth protection issues must show that very rating and don’t need a new one.
- Important: IARC ratings are only valid within the participating online storefronts and are NOT valid at gamescom!
- Every exhibitor can define additional age rating rules above that of USK (i.e. VR Units or complex installations).
- Every displayed platform version must carry its own rating.
Upon admission, in accordance with the age on their photo ID/health insurance card with photo, the organizer (Koelnmesse) will provide visitors with three types of non-removable wristbands in colors corresponding to the colors of the respective USK stickers for ages 12/16/18 which support booth personnel in terms of age verification. Please note that the wristbands will also be handed out on Wednesday (the trade visitor day) and that age checks must also be carried out on that day. Only visitors who have demonstrably attained the age of 12, 16, or 18 (confirmed via photo ID or health insurance card with photo) will receive the respective wristband and gain access to the appropriate areas. There are no exceptions. Parental accompaniment or consent forms do not replace proof of age.
The competent authorities (the City of Cologne) will thoroughly monitor compliance with the German Children and Young Persons Protection Act (JuSchG) at the fair and take the appropriate legal actions in the event of violations of the law. Any violations will be punished by closing the trade fair booth of the responsible company and can result in substantial fines.
To prevent the latter, USK is available to help you resolve any questions, problems, and ambiguities regarding youth protection.