The Unexpected Issue with Balatro’s Age Rating

Recently, the popular roguelike card game, Balatro, faced an unexpected setback when it was pulled from several digital storefronts in the EU, including the Nintendo eShop and PSN Store. The reason behind this sudden removal was an overnight change in the game’s age rating, from 3+ to 18+, by a ratings board. This decision caught both the developer, PlayStack, and the players off guard.

According to PlayStack, the ratings board made this drastic change without any prior warning, based on a mistaken belief that Balatro contained “prominent gambling imagery and material that instructs about gambling.” However, the developer strongly refuted these claims, stating that the game does not promote or include any gambling elements. In fact, when initially reviewed by the ratings board in October, Balatro received a 3+ rating, not an 18+ rating.

Despite the sudden removal from certain storefronts, PlayStack remains confident that Balatro will be available for purchase again soon. The developer is considering releasing the game with a temporary 18+ rating while they work to resolve the issue with the ratings board. In the meantime, Balatro is still accessible on digital stores in the United States, ensuring that fans outside the EU can continue to enjoy the game.

This is not the first time a game has faced rating-related issues due to misconceptions about its content. Last year, another game named Sunshine Shuffle encountered a temporary ban in certain markets because of the combination of cute animals and poker. While Sunshine Shuffle remained available on platforms like Steam and itch.io, it was unavailable on the Nintendo eShop in North America, and completely barred in South Korea.

Success Amidst Challenges

Despite the rating controversy, Balatro has proven to be a massive success, selling 250,000 copies in just 72 hours across all platforms. The game also managed to gross $1 million within the first eight hours of its release, with profitability achieved within the first hour. These impressive numbers demonstrate the game’s popularity and replay value, even in the midst of unexpected challenges.

The unexpected change in Balatro’s age rating serves as a reminder of the complexities involved in the video game industry’s rating systems. While the situation may have caused temporary inconvenience, the developer’s commitment to resolving the issue and the game’s continued success speak volumes about the resilience of both PlayStack and their loyal player base.

Nintendo

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