As good as indexed

As good as indexed

In the controversy over adult games, the internationally celebrated "Dead Space 2" provides new material for discussion

A state government shows commitment. However, instead of advocating for better education systems, family policies or integration measures, it wants to force the ban of a video game that has been regularly approved by the USK’s control board: While Dead Space 2 tops international charts, Electronic Arts has to keep postponing the release of its prestige title in this country. Mail order companies in Austria and England are happy about this: It also brings them orders from German gamers. EA Germany suffers losses that come close to indexation.

The Bavarian State Ministry for Labor and Social Order, Family and Women, led by Christine Haderthauer (CSU), wants to prevent the release of "Dead Space 2" by any means necessary – apparently to set new benchmarks. Although the USK has extensively tested the survival horror shooter and finally approved it for sale from the age of 18, the minister remains intransigent. But she did not have to worry at all. The USK, which has been a permanent testing institution for computer and video games in Germany since 1994, is considered the strictest control body for interactive entertainment products in the world, along with test centers in China and Australia.

She sets the course for which games are allowed to be released in this country and whether they need to be defunded. Qualified pedagogues and social scientists under the chairmanship of the permanent representative of the supreme state youth authority decide after detailed test documentation for which age the product is recommended. If the USK refuses a rating, the BpjM (Bundesprufstelle fur jugendgefahrdende Medien, Federal Agency for Media Dangerous to Young Persons) comes on the scene, which often results in the indexing of the game.

Five opinions are not enough

The dispute over the German release of "Dead Space 2" is also a protest against the semi-governmental self-regulation of the USK. Not a few opponents doubt the institution or question its competence. The goal is at least a weakening of the body for future decisions and even more say of the state in the supply of consumer electronics for adults. While adult gambling is often hastily defamed in populist arguments in this country as a source of psychological damage or even as a trigger for criminal acts, in other European countries, the USA or Russia the market has long been regarded as a serious economic factor.

As good as indexed

Dead Space 2" is also the sequel to a million-dollar hit. Part 1 was already classified as "not for children and young people" in 2008, i.e. from 18 years on. After this hopeful verdict for adult gamers, part 2 should expect the same classification. In order to obtain a scientifically trimmed and seamless test result, the USK liked to test "Dead Space 2" a whole five times – with the result that the horror adventure on the space station does not violate the Bpjm’s indexing criteria, which the USK uses as a guideline for the test. Bavaria nevertheless filed an appeal and for the first time in the history of the USK demanded an appeal procedure, which enforced a sixth review of the game on the last printers before the international release date. From the original 27.01., which also applies to neighboring countries such as Austria, France and the Netherlands, a German release date was first postponed to 03.02., then to the 24 targeted by handlers such as Amazon.02. and finally to an as yet undetermined date in March.

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