I have been keeping tabs on this question, and I am confident that I could answer the question.

The problem is, OPs major issue is that they are using a copy of the game that was censored, for release in Germany. If they were accessing the regular game, they would be able to fix their problem.

I know how to redirect to the original game, as I had to do something similar when Left 4 Dead 2 was censored here in Australia.

The solution should fix their problems, but would also circumnavigate the censorship restrictions on the game.

Is such an answer permitted, or should I just leave it? The answer would involve editing two of the game files associating it with steam, so that instead of launching the censored version through steam, the user would instead launch the regular uncensored version, along with the language support they are requesting.

  • I think the most important question you have to ask yourself is "Would the process required to answer the question be considered illegal?" Having said that, we're not lawyers here, and can't really comment on the legality of something, especially in this case where the answer could be very different for the U.S. versus Germany, not to mention other countries.
    – MBraedley
    Jul 25 '15 at 10:47
  • That was my concern. I am aware that getting around censorship is illegal, though the topic is touchy. At least in Australia. I am personally against censorship, so this has not troubled me in the past. As it is, it appears that in this case, the same process would not work (both versions share a gameID on steam, so you can not "point" to the uncensored version by changing its ID).
    – user106385
    Jul 25 '15 at 10:49

Legality doesn't matter for us in general, we're not lawyers and can't properly evaluate the specific laws anyway, especially on a site visited by people from many different countries. We have some rules that are loosely based on laws, e.g. the rule against questions about pirated games. But we don't have that rule because it is illegal, but mostly because we don't want to actively support it.

In this specific case, I also believe that it wouldn't be illegal to circumvent the censorship. I can legally buy any such game in Germany, the restrictions are on selling them and advertising them. Steam could sell the original versions, but they would have to verify that the customer is 18 years old, and complying with these restrictions is probably too complicated for them. I actually own the english uncensored version of Fallout 3 and bought it from a german online shop, so I'm pretty certain it is not illegal in this case.

There might be an issue of breaking the Terms of Service for Steam, but that is a much murkier area.

  • Actually, the issue is that the games are censored proactively, in order to prevent being placed on the index, which prohibits advertising (including putting it on a shelf) but not selling(!) the game. Therefore, the uncensored version is often never even rated in the first place. Steam is utterly unable to handle indexed games, seeing that you can not buy these games "below the counter" as you normally could. (Though I do wonder what steam support would reply when you ask them...)
    – MrLemon
    Jul 27 '15 at 10:59

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