The Sims 4 has been rated 18+ by the Russian Federation, prohibiting sales of the game to minors. The rating is due to a controversial Russian law that prohibits the promotion of same-sex relationships to children.
Ars Technica reports the news of the rating, which comes from a tweet on the Russian Sims account about the rating. Asked by a follower why The Sims 4 received the rating, the account posted, "18 + has been assigned in accordance with the law number 436-FZ 'On the protection of children from information harmful to their health and development.''" (via Google Translate).
436-FZ was signed into law by Russian president Vladimir Putin in June 2013, and has drawn criticism worldwide as an attempt to effectively ban the promotion of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights in the country, as well as encouraging violence against homosexual Russians.
The rating is exceedingly high for a series that has historically been rated appropriate for teens. The Sims 3 was rated T for Teen in the US by the ESRB when it was released in 2009, who cited crude humor and sexual themes in its rating.
"These avatars often interact socially, which can sometimes lead to mild flirtation or more intimate encounters," reads the game's rating information. "Players can choose to 'try for a baby' or 'WooHoo' with another Sim – the later option being available to both heterosexual and same-sex couples. These two actions cause the selected avatars to jump into bed and go under the covers, where they wriggle, giggle, and moan until confetti bursts over the bed."
Other countries have rated previous Sims games even lower. According to Ars , "In Germany, The Sims 3 was even rated as appropriate for ages 6 and up by the country's USK rating board."
It's unclear how the 18+ rating will affect sales of The Sims 4 in Russia, a potentially valuable PC gaming market but country also known for rampant game piracy . At press time, The Sims 4 has not been rated by the ESRB.
We've reached out to Electronic Arts for comment, and will update with its statement.