The Sims has been banned from multiple countries in a move that fans claim is due to the game’s explicit LGBT content.
On June 20, a representative for EA told fans on an online forum that The Sims mobile game The Sims: Freeplay would no longer be available in seven different countries.
Writing in the forum, the spokesperson said that “in light of regional standards” the game would no longer be updated.
EA did not confirm the exact nature of these regional standards, prompting many fans to speculate that the ban was caused by the game’s explicit LGBT content.
The EA spokesperson wrote: “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.”
The ban applies to seven countries in Asia: China, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Kuwait, Qatar and Egypt.
Users who had already downloaded the game would still be able to use it, however, the game will not be updated and may eventually be rendered obsolete.
Players will also not be able to make in-game purchases, including the microtransactions that many free mobile games use.
It is unclear whether this ban applies to the main The Sims game.
The base game is typically available by digital download or physical disk, but in several countries – including China – the full game is unable to download.
The popular EA life simulation video game series first launched in 2000, and over the years has made changes to reflect society – including the ability for same-sex weddings and gay adoptions.
The Sims made headlines in 2016 after a free update to the game that removed all gender restrictions, in line with the studio’s ethos.
The update was originally announced as a small change to the wardrobe options available in the game, however, players were quick to discover that the update was far more comprehensive than just clothing choices.
The Sims 4 added a wide range of gender options that were all independent from one another, making the game highly trans-inclusive.
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Although players still had to assign their sims a binary sex that corresponded to their pronouns, the update allowed male sims to carry pregnancies, let players pick whether the sim had a feminine or masculine frame and allowed players to decide whether their sim stood to use the toilet.
Developers Maxis and EA said at the time that they worked alongside LGBT advocacy group GLAAD on the update.
Over the last 18 years, The Sims has been criticised by many due to its acceptance of same-sex marriage, gay parenting, extra-marital sex and non-traditional families.
Even prior to the groundbreaking gender update, players were able to ‘WooHoo’ with other Sims regardless of gender or relationship status.
Same-sex relationships have been present in the EA franchise since the first game in 2000, with same-sex adoptions and marriage later added to the series.
In 2014, The Sims was given an ‘adults only’ rating by Russian authorities due to the inclusion of same-sex relationships.
EA did not return a request for comment from PinkNews.