Adult-Only Games In Germany Blocked By Steam

In the age verification industry, Germany is a hot topic right now due to the recent changes that were made in online gambling regulations. However, a recent discovery by users of popular games platform Steam in Germany has suggested that age verification rules aren’t just causing issues for gambling operators across the country.

Below, AgeChecked looks at the changes that Steam has implemented for German users and why these changes could have been made.

Steam blocks age-restricted games

The Steam platform is extremely popular with a recent report from September 2020 showing that it has over 21m users. At the end of December 2020, Steam users in Germany found that they were no longer able to access any games that contained adult-only content. Not only did the games appear blocked on the platform but they were also removed from the wish lists of these users. This caused a lot of confusion as there was no official notification from Steam regarding the move.

Many of these games were not gambling-related and simply involved over-18 content such as horror games, first-person shooters and fighting games. So, German players were unable to access some of the most popular games like The Witcher series and Mortal Combat on the platform.

Why has this happened?

For many gamers in Germany, this move by Steam would have come as a shock but there are valid reasons why they could have made this decision. The current age verification system in place on Steam simply involves players entering their date of birth when signing up. This system is not sufficient enough to prevent minors from accessing the adult-only content that is available on Steam.

It is likely that this decision has been made due to Germany’s strict pornography laws. Steam is a leading games platform and so it needs to stay on the right side of the law to continue operating in Germany.

The games in question fall under the USK18 rating which covers games with sexual content. According to the German rating board, the aim of the USK18 rating is “to protect minors from the vehemence of the images and the violent concepts and from any possible identification with game characters whose actions may run contrary to ethical and moral norms.”

Changes in German laws

While this ban is linked to pornography laws, it is worth noting the recent changes that iGaming operators in Germany have had to make to their processes. Back in March 2020, the GlüNeuRStV was approved, opening up the online gambling market. However, to operate legally, online gambling operators in Germany must follow strict age verification guidelines to protect minors.

It is clear that the German government does not take any breaches of these laws lightly. Steam has protected itself but hopefully, for the sake of gamers in Germany, they will improve their age verification process and return things to normal.

AgeChecked offers a compliant and secure age verification software for gambling operators. The AgeChecked platform can swiftly and accurately confirm that the player is over the age of 18, ensuring a smooth onboarding process to verify.

Time is running out for iGaming operators in this jurisdiction to become compliant. Get in touch with AgeChecked today to see find out more about how we can help.

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