Gay weddings for Russia: How The Sims became a battleground for the LGBTQ+ community

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02/22/2022

Two weeks ago, Electronic Arts opted not to launch a same-sex marriage story in Russia for its hit life-simulation video game The Sims 4. At a glance, this is a simple story – a game publisher refusing to compromise its art in order to comply with Russia’s controversial “homosexual propaganda” law. Yet to Russian LGBTQ+ gamers, EA’s blog post wasn’t a show of solidarity – it was a betrayal. Since 2013, it’s been illegal in Russia to “promote” homosexuality to minors. This means that any LGBTQ+ content must carry an adults-only rating. It’s a law that EA knows all too well, as back in 2014, The Sims 4’s same-sex relationships saw it slapped with an 18+ rating in Russia. Despite its disproportionate age-gating – the game’s a PEGI 12+ in the UK – The Sims 4 became massively popular in Russia. Over the last seven years, it has amassed legions of dedicated Russian fans and streamers, including a huge LGBTQ+ following. Now, that community felt abandoned.

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