German chain pulls violent films, games

Retail chain pulls 18 plus rated stock after school shooting

COLOGNE, Germany -- German retail chain Galeria Kaufhof will pull violent films and video games off its shelves following the brutal school shooting last week that shocked and horrified the country.

Beginning in April, Kaufhof, one of the country’s largest retailers, will no longer stock films or games sold with an 18 plus rating, meaning material judged inappropriate for young people. The rating is usually reserved for violent material, including horror films and first-person shooter style games.

Violent video games have come under attack here in the wake of last week’s shooting, in which a student gunned down 15 people. Media reports and local politicians have pointed to the fact that the shooter played popular videogame “Counter Strike” as a factor in the massacre.

There have been calls to ban such material outright.

“I think (Kaufhof’s decision) is a complete borders on impulsive hysteria,” said Stephan Reichart, managing director at German video game developers association G.A.M.E. “It would be sufficient if retailers made sure their cashers don’t sell this material to young people.”

Germany already has one of the strictest ratings regimes for violent games and films in Europe.