Many different stkeholders are involved in the USK classification procedure. In addition to the USK team, Permanent State Representatives, honorary game testers and honorary youth protection experts are also involved. The USK is consulted by an Advisory Board which defines the USK principles and guiding criteria and confirms the classifiers.
For more than 25 years, the Entertainment Software Self-Regulation (USK) has been the voluntary self-regulation body of the German computer games industry and thus responsible for the age classification of computer games in Germany under the Law on the protection of minors (JuSchG). In its only office in Berlin, there are 14 permanent employees plus up to eight honorary game testers. The USK is operated by the Freiwillige Selbstkontrolle Unterhaltungssoftware (FSU) GmbH. Shareholder of the non-profit GmbH is the industry association of the German games industry (game). Although the shareholder bears the economic risk of the GmbH, they are not responsible for the age classifications.
The USK ensures that the games can be tested technically and in terms of content on a wide variety of current gaming platforms. Thus, the USK is responsible for ensuring that the testing procedures run smoothly and that all criteria and agreed deadlines are adhered to. The tasks range from the organisation of the testing procedures to the training of the experts involved in the classification procedure. In addition, the USK also issues age ratings within the international IARC system for online games and apps. Numerous companies have joined the USK as members in order to cooperate closely and on a permanent basis on the subject of the protection of minors.
The USK is consulted by an Advisory Board. This committee determines the USK principles and the guiding criteria and appoints the persons who play a key role in the testing procedure for age rating. This includes the game testers, who present the games to the classification commitee, and the youth protection experts, who recommend an age rating to the Permanent Representatives. The chairpersons of the appointment and appeals procedures are also appointed by the Advisory Board.