Before, the classification board known as the Entertainment Software Self-Regulation Body (Unterhaltungssoftware Selbstkontrolle, or USK) would reject classification for games depicting imagery of Hitler, Swastikas, and other symbols relating to the Nazi regime. A prevalent example of this restriction can be seen in the recent Wolfenstein reboot games, which replaced all imagery with something similar, but unrelated to Nazism.
According to German news site gameswirtschaft.de, the national authorities will now allow the USK to classify these games with an age rating, a trait required to be sold in the country, effective immediately.
Instead of immediate rejection, these games depicting what they classify as unconstitutional organizations will now be reviewed and assessed in a case by case basis. If it still meets the social adequacy clause present in section 86 of the German Criminal Code. Games will only qualify for an age rating if "those symbols serve an artistic or scientific purpose, or depict current or historical events."
Film and literature have been under a similar restriction for years, though only now will this include video games. With this entertainment medium growing increasingly popular with younger generations, this could lead to a more educated and understanding to Germany's history. Felix Falk, MD of game, said the following in a statement
"This new decision is an important step for games in Germany. We have long campaigned for games to finally be permitted to play an equal role in social discourse, without exception.
. . .
Computer and video games have been recognised as a cultural medium for many years now, and this latest decision consistently cements that recognition in terms of the use of unconstitutional symbols as well."
Whether or not developers decide to take on this new freedom is uncertain. Many will likely choose to avoid the topic as to not stir unneeded controversy, while others may embrace it fully. Time will tell.