German EA Boss Calls Out USK

German EA Boss Calls Out USK

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The head of EA in Germany has spoken out against the country's rating system, calling it 'censorship'.

Gerhard Florin, head of EA's Germany branch, has attacked the Unterhaltungssoftware Selbstkontrolle, or USK, calling its ratings 'censorship'. "When we talk about games here it's about violence or their alleged addictiveness, and not about their cultural status. The few good studios are asking themselves why they should stay here anyway," he said, "what we're doing here is censorship, and no one complains. "

The USK is notoriously tough on violent games and titles like Ninja Gaiden and Gears of War 2 have failed to secure a German release. Florin thinks that the country should abandon the USK and adopt the PEGI rating system, although this idea has met with some resistance from Marek Brunner, head of the USK.

"It's hard when half-truths are being used," said Brunner. "They say the USK does this wrong, the USK does that bad and why doesn't this get a rating?" Brunner said that the BPjM - the Federal Department for Media Harmful to Young Persons - is partially to blame, and laments that people rarely take the agency into account when bashing the USK.

Source: Eurogamer

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I agree completely with the Ea guy. I hate all forms of censorship. If a game is not for kids, the parents should not buy it for them. Let mature people play whatever they want. Otherwise, you just encourage piracy.

This is clearly progaganda, or lobbyism, if you want to put it a little more diplomatic. What Florin calls for is simply to swap a tough rating system for a less tough to have 'nicer' stickers on the boxes. Apart from that, nothing would change - the BPjM Brunner refers to is still in place and the 'index' mechanism would still be in place.

Actually, the system is working pretty fine as it is. Back in the days, USK ratings were not mandatory. As a side effect, the BPjM (or, BPjS as it was called back then) could put any game on an index of harmful media, no matter the rating. As it is now, the index mechanism can only come into effect if a game is denied a rating - overall, that means a lot less games get indexed.
The system does, however, have its shortcomings that need to be fixed. If a game doesn't get a rating from the USK, that often means it's in kind of a limbo - practically, there's no difference between a game that's on the index and one that's been denied a rating.

(Please keep in mind that the BPjM can only be *called* to action by a numer of legit actors and not act on its own. Also keep in mind that a game being listed on the index I mentioned does not mean it's banned)

If he blames the USK for that he's an idiot. The BPjM is the reason for all that censorship, not the USK. The USK rates the stuff that gets sold regularly in stores (even the games rated 18) and just puts the label on there, restricting sales to minors. Last I checked preventing kids from getting something isn't censorship. The BPjM bans advertising which is so vague stores won't even stock the game in fear that putting it on shelves would be illegal (and console manufacturers don't allow indexed games on their systems) so the ability of adults to get their hands on the games is effectively removed even though the law does not intend for that to happen. Outright bans are extremely rare.

nilcypher:
Florin thinks that the country should abandon the USK and adopt the PEGI rating system, although this idea has met with some resistance from Marek Brunner, head of the USK.

Hahaha...really? How shocking that he is showing so much "resistance"! Could it be because the head of USK would be out of the job then?

I am not defending USK by no means but you can´t have everything for now.
Germany is about notorious about violence than the US / ESRB is about erotic content.

But USK is definately too much in the business of kissing their own asses.

You know like Wolfenstein etc.is forbidden in Germany. But I just cannot see any reason why
killing Nazies would not serve the democratic community.

Unterhaltungssoftware Selbstkontrolle

Sounds so awesome, yet is so lame

Wow, and I thought Australia had it bad...

It really comes down to the government finally realising that games are becoming, if not already are, the most important entertainment medium of our age. Other mediums, such as the movie industry, get government grants as they help to develop their respective country's image in that particular field of entertainment. When the government goes out of their way to supress the progress of the various developers, all they are going to do is take their business elsewhere. This will only serve to further disassociate our particular pastime from the global entertainment industry, as is will only be seen as niche.

The film industry suffered the same prujudice in it's early years, and it's only when film-makers took risks that we progressed. If developers are too scared to take risks, because some suit will just ban their game, there is going to be absolutely no progression at all.

That said, the term "risk" does not automatically entail an industry of violent, sexualised profanity-ridden halo clones. Maybe the developers should seek a way around this by, oh, I don't know, making something different? There needs to be a lot more communication between both sides.

It's good that i live in austria, we get most games uncensored and if there isn't a german uncensored version, we still get the game in english.

Emphraim:
I agree completely with the Ea guy. I hate all forms of censorship. If a game is not for kids, the parents should not buy it for them. Let mature people play whatever they want. Otherwise, you just encourage piracy.

Pretty much this. Whilst I support age restrictions, I don't support censorship for the sort of things that are in the op.

BloodRed Pixel:
But USK is definately too much in the business of kissing their own asses.

You know like Wolfenstein etc.is forbidden in Germany.

Wolfenstein 3D was banned by a court, the USK doesn't have the authority to deal with that. The logic was IIRC that Wolf3D is a toy and toys aren't allowed to contain Nazi insignia. Later Wolfenstein games were sold freely just by replacing the swastikas with some other symbol.

 

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