Russia Gives The Sims 4 an Adults Only Rating
Citing the controversial so-called “Protection of Children” law, the video games rating board in Russia has classified The Sims 4 as “prohibited for children” ahead of its upcoming release in the second half of 2014.
The reported reason for the rating is because The Sims 4 includes the ability for player characters to enter into same-sex relationships with other characters in the game. This is a feature that has been included since the first The Sims game in 2000.
The “Protection of Children” law is Russian federal law 436-FZ “On Protection of Children from Information Harmful to Their Health and Development.” This is the controversial law that has been used to effectively ban homosexuality from Russian public life. It effectively bans mentioning “non-traditional sexual relations” to minors and prohibits equating the value and validity “non-traditional sexual relationships” to heterosexual relationships.
This law has also been responsible a reported increase in the rise in crimes against gay, lesbian and transgendered community. While punishments for being gay are harsh, anecdotally, there does not seem to be much punishment happening for what would be a hate crime in most other civilized nations in the world.
Confirmation of this racing comes from Maxis’ official The Sims Twitter account for Russia in response to a fan question.
One fact that is both a good and bad thing for Maxis is that Russia has a high rate of video game piracy. Even if getting their hands on the game legally will be difficult for Russian gamers, making The Sims 4 one of the most pirated games in Russia would certainly be an interesting form of silent protest. Also, kudos to Maxis for not compromising on the content of the game to get a lower rating in Russia.