How does game classification work?


Fixed criteria apply to the classification of computer games. These have been jointly developed by the USK and the Representatives of the Supreme Youth Protection Authorities of the Federal States according due consideration to the evaluation practice of the BPjM.

Game testers

Game testers are provided with the training they need to fulfil this demanding task during a probationary period at the USK. They completely play through all games submitted and present them to a Classification Committee. Testers do not recommend an age classification.

Child protection experts

Since 2003, a Classification Committee at the USK has comprised four child protection experts and one Permanent Representative of the Supreme Youth Protection Authorities of the Federal States (OLJB). The more than 50 child protection experts need to be approved by the Advisory Council.

Child protection experts are independent of both the USK and the computer games industry. They may not work in the industry. They have gained experience working with media and young persons aged under 18 by working in such areas as youth social services, academic research, church institutions, the Department for Media Harmful to Young Persons (BPjM), voluntary associations providing support to young persons or in other professional fields. Many also have experience of working for other self-regulation bodies, for instance the FSK (Voluntary Self Regulation Body of the Movie Industry) or FSF (Voluntary Television Self Regulation Body).

The benefit of this system is that it creates changing and pluralistic Classification Committees which take decisions by a simple majority vote. This means that games can be evaluated in a differentiated manner from a number of different perspectives and represents a major feature of quality control within the classification process. The youngest of the respective age group are the relevant focus. The child protection experts recommend an age classification to the Permanent Representatives of the OLJB.

Permanent Representatives of the Federal States (OLJB) at the USK

The Permanent Representative of the OLJB may either adopt the recommendation made by a Classification Committee with regard to the age rating of a game or else appeal against such a recommendation.
If an age rating is issued by the Supreme Youth Protection Authorities of the Federal States (OLJB), the results of the classification are displayed on the packaging and storage media of computer games in the form of an age rating symbol. Classification results are available in the Classification Database.