An unadulterated, complete game experience identical to the rest of the world is a concern to many German gamers. This is not only proven by surveys of our group but also by the regular uncut announcements after an inquiry or in press statement made by publishers: One is happy to publish said game uncut,  uncensored or unchanged to the German market. Since the gross misleading by Activision regarding Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, however, customers should challenge these announcements.

On German retail versions, the notorious “100% uncut” claims are still often printed or glued on the front covers for everyone to see. Following you will find a self-made, pretty comprehensive imgur album with a total of 84 publications, which offered such marketing statements. In each case, a maximum of one version/edition per game was considered (i.e. for PS3 and Xbox 360 only one of the two versions is depicted):

Imgur album with “100% uncut” covers.

This phenomenon is symptomatic of Germany’s relatively strict stance on the protection of minors and illegal violence in media in general. No other European country shares this recent history of large scale modifications of game versions for a single local market, so that these indications, as a sales argument, would hardly make sense (one exception: Saw: The Videogame). On the other hand, in the case of certain films, marketing statements in the form of “Banned in Germany” can sometimes be spotted.

In general, one must approve if games are also released uncensored in Germany. This is especially true if the reasons can be found in an increased acceptance for the medium. An uncut note may be very useful in certain cases, e.g. The Ultimate Edition of Fallout New Vegas. On the other hand, however, consumers may be accustomed to automatically assume that games are censored if they do not carry such a claim, which by no means must be true and should not be a normal assumption in any case.

Global pre-censorship of all versions of a game during development, to be able to promote a uncut version in Germany, can never be excluded as a possibility, especially since the USK offers a development-oriented advisory service for rating concerns. The USK itself recognizes this (confer to the USK’s statement in their annual statistics 2014 or this interview with Felix Falk).


Note: This article was first published in our Steam group.