The German government has decided not to impose a ban on violent videogames, opting instead to promote more widespread education and awareness of the PEGI videogame rating system.
Germany began seriously toying with the idea of a sweeping ban against violent videogames following the murders of 15 students in a school shooting in Winnenden in March 2009, carried out by a fan of games like Far Cry 2 and Counter-Strike. All 16 of the country's Interior Ministers called for a ban on the games and rhetoric ran high on both sides: The Interior Minister of Bavaria said violent games were "on the same level as child pornography and drugs," while foremost German developer Crytek vowed once again to pull out of the country if any such ban was put into place.
But it seems that cooler heads have prevailed, according to German site GameCaptain (Google translated), which reported that Parliamentary State Secretary of the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs Dr. Herman Kues has confirmed that "a change in the relevant Criminal Code... was not planned." Furthermore, according to the site, the call for a ban is now "definitively off the table."
"The decision of the federal government supports our belief that banning videogames is not an efficient way to monitor content," EA Senior Vice President Dr Jens Uwe Intat told GamesIndustry. "The German decision is a very welcome step as we encourage policy makers to better understand the reality of today's videogame market and give games the same respect as books, films or music."
It's probably not the final word on the matter - these things never seem to really and truly end - and of course Germany will continue to severely restrict the sale of violent games within its borders. But for now, at least, it looks like German gamers are off the hook.