Starting next year, computer and video games in Germany will feature new USK logos. In the future, the Entertainment Software Self-Regulation Body will print additional information, for example about lootboxes, on the packaging.
New USK logos confirmed for 2023
The age labeling on computer and video games will be adjusted to the year 2023. According to the Entertainment Software Self-Regulation Body (USK), they are adapting the USK logos, which provide information about the content and indicate an appropriate age rating.
“From January 2023, parents will find additional information about the reasons for the release as well as references to existing functions in the game, such as purchase or communication options,” it says on the part of the USK.
The new logos include references to horror elements, incriminating themes and the like. Everything also adorns the logos additional notes under the colored area, which, for example, informs about chats or the so-called Lootboxes and other in-game purchases.
The latter term indicates, for example, that a game contains “smaller additional items (items) that provide more variety in the gameplay, such as “bonus levels”, “skins” (outfits for game characters), virtual coins and other forms of in-game currency, subscriptions and upgrades (for example, to disable advertising)”.
Loot boxes with additional notice
If, on the other hand, the notice “In-game purchases + random objects” is emblazoned on the packaging, a title contains corresponding loot boxes, which are officially considered gambling in other countries and are sometimes even completely banned.
Until now, such elements had no effect on the age rating by the USK and now find a place in the USK logo. Of course, this is especially important for parents, who can get more details about the content at first glance.
The USK believes that the new labeling could well have an impact on the ratings, which – with appropriate mechanics – will be set so higher than may have been the case so far.
“The adjustments are an important pillar for a holistic and future-oriented protection of children and young people in the media. Together with the supreme state youth authorities, many actors of child and youth media protection as well as the game providers, we have succeeded in laying the foundation for the transfer of the new Youth Protection Act into good practice,” says USK managing director Elisabeth Secker.