The Controversy Surrounding LocalThunk’s Balatro Game

LocalThunk’s Balatro game has recently come under fire due to concerns that it promotes gambling. However, many players have attested that Balatro is not a gambling-themed game at all. The issue stems from global ratings boards mistakenly re-classifying the game without proper assessment, leading to restrictions on its audience.

In response to the misclassification, game publisher Playstack took to Twitter to clarify the situation. They revealed that the overnight change in Balatro’s age rating from 3+ to 18+ was due to a ratings board’s mistaken belief that the game contained prominent gambling imagery and material that instructed about gambling. Playstack vehemently denied these claims, stating that Balatro does not endorse or encourage gambling in any way.

Playstack further explained that Balatro had previously undergone a thorough review by the ratings board in October 2023. Initially, the game had received an 18+ rating, but after an appeal process, it was successfully downgraded to 3+ as the board determined that the initial rating was unwarranted. Despite this successful appeal, the game’s rating has now been reverted back to 18+ without warning.

Playstack is currently working to address this issue and is exploring options to have Balatro reinstated on affected digital storefronts. They are considering issuing a temporary 18+ rating for the game until the matter is resolved. Fortunately, players who already own the game will still be able to download and play it, regardless of the game’s store status. For those looking to purchase Balatro from impacted storefronts, patience is advised as Playstack works towards resolving the availability issue.

This controversy serves as a reminder of the challenges faced by game developers and publishers when dealing with ratings boards and the impact of misclassifications on a game’s reputation and accessibility. It highlights the importance of clear communication and transparency in the ratings process to prevent misunderstandings and controversies such as this one.

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