n Chinese censors’ latest move to create a more “harmonious” environment, the popular mobile game The Sims FreePlay is to be removed from all Chinese app stores, seemingly because the game allows for same-sex relationships and marriages.
On Wednesday, the game’s developer posted a notice informing users that “in light of regional standards,” starting on July 5th, The Sims FreePlay will no longer be available in seven countries: Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Oman, Kuwait, Qatar, Egypt, and China.
The developer failed to specify exactly which “regional standards” were causing this move, however, considering the list of countries, it is assumed that the ban comes because of The Sims’ embrace of gay relationships.
The Sims FreePlay was released in 2011 and has been regularly updated since then. Like other editions in the extremely popular Electronic Arts’ franchise, it allows users to take control of a virtual person, helping that Sim build a home, get a job, and find love.
“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,” said The Sims FreePlay Team.
Those who have already downloaded the game in China can continue playing it, but will not be able to receive any updates or make any purchases. At the moment, launching the game in China brings up a notice about the impending ban:
Meanwhile, those who check the game’s website will be met with the message that this game is not available in China:
While homosexuality is not illegal in China, gay content is banned from Chinese TV shows and online publications. In April, Weibo tried to issue a similar ban on gay content, but was forced to quicklyreverse courseafter tens of thousands of netizens protested the move, rallying around the viral hashtag: #iamgay.
Last month, Eurovision banned Chinese online streaming platform Mango TV from airing the rest of the contest after itcompletely censored one songfrom an Irish artist which featured a pair of male dancers acting out a gay love story and also blurred out a rainbow flag in the background of another performance.