Dead Rising is not banned (yet)

Von Boris, Mi, 19. Jul 2006 10:46

To  my English-language readers and co-bloggers: Dead Rising from Capcom is not banned in Germany. I know, the German system is complicated and unique, so you might get confused – but before you just take a news item for granted, how about asking somebody from Germany to get the facts straight?

USK, the equivalent to ESRB or PEGI, has decided to give Dead Rising no age rating at all because it might, and I need to stress might, get “banned” in the future due to its violent nature. For the time being that only means two things:

  1. The game can not be sold to minors and can not be sold via mail order – but it still could be advertised and shown openly.
  2. Microsoft does not allow software companies to publish “unrated” games on Xbox 360 (in the US, every 360 game has to have an ESRB rating) – and in Germany we have the unique situation that a game can be denied a rating by USK, making it technically an unrated game. So Dead Rising can not be published in Germany.

Now, what CAN happen is that the BPjM could “ban” the game (I’ll stick with the word “ban” although it is literally wrong, as it is not a real ban of the game but more a ban of the promotion of the game). It can do that with unrated games only. When this “ban” happens, the game still can legally be sold “under the counter” to adults but any kind of advertising, including just showing it in a store, is forbidden. To get such a “ban” though the game must be available on the german market first, then a youth organization can apply for such a “ban” and this whole process can take several weeks. There is no way to “ban” a title before it even is released.

The Catch-22 in this is that BPjM can not “ban” any rated games. So if USK gives the game a rating, it is out of BPjMs reach. This in the past has led to some heated discussions about games that politicians said should have been “banned” but couldn’t. Therefore USK is under the pressure of not rating a game if they see the possibility that somebody will ask for it to get “banned” in the future. And as this dilemma only happens to a minimal amount of games published (less then a handful a year out of several hundred releases), this  problem is not high on the agenda.

So Dead Rising could be legally sold in Germany, but won’t be published. Yeah, I know this sucks. Tell our politicians please.

Xbox 360 with its unique parental control system would make titles like Dead Rising permissible even in a strict market like Germany. All it would need is an official age rating of any kind. The situation of a game having no age rating at all is weird and not very customer- or publisher-friendly. On the other hand, Microsoft (in my view) can not loosen the tight rule of requiring every game to carry a proper legal age rating – because that would immediately undermine the Family Settings feature and make the situation in the long term worse rather than better. The Family Settings in Xbox allow adult players to enjoy the content they want while protecting children from inappropriate content. And all that is tuned to the local standards by using the local age rating systems. Now we just need a legal rating for every game and we’re fine.

12 Antworten für “Dead Rising is not banned (yet)”

  1. Winkeladvokat sagt:

    Witzig, ich hatte dem kreativen Kopf hinter dem (äußerst netten) Webcomic CtrlAltDel gestern eine Mail mit recht ähnlichem Text zukommen lassen, nachdem er ebenfalls sein Bedauern für uns Deutsche aufgrund des “bans” ausdrückte. Vielleicht sollte man rein der Vollständigkeit halber noch erwähnen, dass die BPjM NICHT für eine Beschlagnahme (also den “ban” im engeren Sinn) zuständig ist, sondern die ordentlichen Gerichte, auch wenn ein Eintrag in den Teil “B” der Indizierungsliste witzigerweise in der Praxis praktisch die selbe Wirkung entfaltet…

  2. For our english readers: Winkeladvokat mentions that of course there is the possibility of a real ban in Germany, so that all kinds of sales of a title are prohibitied – but that does require a court order and can’t be done by BPjM or USK.

  3. Bill Gates sagt:

    We can smoke nearly everywhere, drive our cars with full speed on the Autobahn, sexual content on all Media 24/7 is no problem; But no virtual violence for 18+, please!

    The EU seems to sleep the whole day … :D

  4. DerOutlaw sagt:

    Irgendwie muss die Meldung wohl erst durch das “Sommerloch” so interessant geworden sein, immerhin hat die USK ihre Bewertung schon am 14.Juni online gestellt.

    Hab auch schon versucht, die Meldung auf 1up.com und im TXB-Forum zu korrigieren.

  5. DarkVamp sagt:

    und wieder sind wir beidem Thema : “Lasst die Eltern ihre Verantwortung selber tragen”.

  6. Jaffar sagt:

    And a minor glitch in the article of Boris: With the reorganisation of the law for the protection of minors, the BPjM can take peemptive action against any game the USK refused to rate. It doesn’t have to be available anymore and it doesn’t need an application from a youth organisation to “ban” a game. And yes, I agree. The german law is complicated, unique and can be a pain in the ass.

    Cheers

  7. SKENA sagt:

    @Vamp, das wäre aber unverantwortlich. ;)

  8. Winkeladvokat sagt:

    “drive our cars with full speed on the Autobahn”

    That is, if your car can’t exceed 120 km/h. Otherwise, “full speed” is wishful thinking, at least on most parts of the dreaded A8, regardless of traffic ;-)

    And by the way – “fun” fact: Last year, the overwhelming majority of requests to ban movies or games came from – drumroll – Traunstein, a mid-size town (population ca. 171.000) in Bavaria. I’d actually recommend a visit. The “Wochinger Bräu” is great and what’s more: It’s something like a 20 minute drive to the next MediaMarkt or Saturn in the beautiful city of Salzburg…

  9. Winkeladvokat sagt:

    Ach ja noch was, von gamesindustry.biz:

    “So there you have it – Dead Rising is not “banned” in Germany, but by its action, the USK has effectively prevented the software from being sold in the region anyway. Whether you want to call that a legitimate distinction or simply a technicality or form of words, we leave entirely up to the reader.”

    In other words: Damn us if we’d ever admit we were actually wrong ;-)

  10. qgi sagt:

    Danke für die Klarstellung. Wenn man die Blogs aus USA liest, könnte man immer meinen, hier wäre noch Bücherverbrennung an der Tagesordnung.
    Ich persönlich finde es schon gut, dass unsere Kids nicht ohne Umwege an extrem heftiges Material kommen, da nehme ich die ein oder andere Unwegbarkeit beim Beschaffen von Titeln wie Dead Rising (dann fahr ich halt nach Tirol oder bestells bei Ebay) gern in Kauf.
    Wobei es ja letztlich die Publisher sind, wie man auch sehr gut an God of War gesehen hat, das erst dann erhältlich war, nachdem sich gezeigt hat, dass es ein sauberes Marktpotential hierzulande gibt.

  11. soulrise sagt:

    Ist schon ein alter Eintrag, aber hier passt der Link ganz gut rein:
    http://www.ctrlaltdel-online.com/comic.php?d=20060807

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