Video game age ratings in Germany

Project period

2006 – 2007

Project staff

Prof. Dr. Christian Pfeiffer

Prof. Dr. Theresia Höynck

PD Dr. Thomas Mößle

Matthias Kleimann

Dr. Florian Rehbein


Fritz Thyssen Stiftung

Own fund

Project description

The KFN schools surveys on media use and academic performance showed that video games rated as being from age 16 or 18 are very frequently played by significantly younger children. Most such games are very violent. This prompted us to ask how come so many minors use such games even though it is against the law and most of all the German Protection of Young Persons Act (Jugendschutzgesetz), what rules are in force, and their practical implementation primarily by USK, the self-regulatory body of the entertainment software industry in Germany. The study designed to shed light on these questions centred on a precise analysis of 72 highly popular video games with various age ratings. The games were played in full by trained game testers and then precisely described and assessed using a newly developed evaluation scheme.

Project related publications
  • Höynck, T., Mößle; T., Kleimann, M. Pfeiffer; C. & Rehbein, F. : Jugendmedienschutz bei gewalthaltigen Computerspielen: Eine Analyse der USK-Alterseinstufungen (mit: CD KFN-Testberichte); (KFN-Forschungsbericht; Nr.: 101). Hannover: KFN.