A representative for EA Games – publisher of ‘The Sims’, told online fans that the mobile version of the game, ‘The Sims: Freeplay’, would no longer be available in certain countries.
The game will be banned “in light of regional standards” on July 5, 2018, in China, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Oman, Kuwait, Qatar and Egypt. According to fans, this is due to its LGBT+ content.
“Considering that the other six countries named in the statement are countries where a great majority of people regard gays and lesbians as criminals, the game’s LGBT+ content might be the reason behind the removal,” said Beijing-based video game expert Duan Juncheng in an interview with Global Times.
If a player already has the app installed on their phone, their game will not be affected, however, no further updates or purchases can be made. If the app can’t update, it may eventually stop working. Players who delete the app or switch to a new device won’t be able to download the game.
A Russian twitter account for players – @TheSimsRU, announced it is not available on Google Play or in the App Store. Because minors are able to play, Russian officials have deemed it inappropriate due to LGBT+ content. It is unclear if the ban will carry over to the computer version of the game.
‘The Sims’ released a Gender Customization Update in 2016. This feature allows players to choose their Sims’ physique, walk, voice tone, etc. regardless of gender. All types of clothing, jewellery and accessories were available for Sims to wear, with many saying the variety of choices made the game trans-inclusive. Developers Maxis and EA reportedly worked alongside the LGBT+ advocacy group GLAAD on the update.
Previously, ‘The Sims’ was known for allowing queer partnerships and sexual encounters with same-sex couples able to marry and adopt children. In response, certain countries including Russia, imposed an age 18 rating.
The Community Manager at EA Answers HQ said, “We’ve always been proud that our in-game experiences embrace values as broad and diverse as our incredible Sims community. This has been important to us, as we know it is to you.” They have yet to respond to latest worries.
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