The Sims 4 Rated Adults-Only in Russia

This piece of news came out several days ago, but I didn't want to stack so many articles centrally about same-sex relationships while the Tomadachi Life situation was happening. Nonetheless, The Sims 4 will be slapped with an Adults-Only or 18+ rating in Russia, according to a Tweet on the Russian Sims account, despite past The Sims titles being rated the equivalent of 'T' in the past and even 6+ in Germany (out of all the European countries, huh?).

This new rating is due to Vladimir Putin's signing of 436-FZ into law in June 2013, as a means "to effectively ban the promotion of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender rights" in Russia. The ability to have same-sex relationships in The Sims 4 would be "harmful to [children's] health and development," according to the law. The ESRB has yet to give a rating for The Sims 4, though it is expected to receive a T rating as well.

While the impact of this AO-rating in Russia is uncertain, I surmise that this will increase piracy for the title in Russia (where piracy is already high), since restricting anything that some people really want (if but secretly) always creates an underground market for it. This also sets a unfortunate precedent for future titles that will be banned in Russia due to same-sex relationships as well, such as Mass Effect, Dragon Age, and The Elder Scrolls.

Where it would be plausible for a company to get rid of Nazi symbols to sell a video game in Germany as with the recent case of Wolfenstein: The New Order, it may be risky for a developer to create a special Russian version that takes out all optional same-sex romances in a game. We'll see if that ever happens.