The Sims Freeplay, a seven-year-old mobile game, will no longer be available in seven countries starting on July 5. On Wednesday, one of the community managers on EA’s forum announced that due to “regional standards,” the game is being removed from iOS and Adroid app stores in China, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Kuwait, Qatar and Egypt.
The Sims Freeplay is a free-to-play Sims mobile game (not to be confused with The Sims Mobile, released earlier this year). Freeplay has been around since 2011 on iOS, moving to Android, Blackberry, and Kindle Fire in following years.
Players who have the game downloaded on their devices will still be able to play, but there will be no further updates or purchases available, which means the game may stop working at a later date. There will also will be no way to retrieve saved data if you’re switching to a new device.
This removal follows the release of a highly-anticipated app update on June 18: allowing female Sims to get pregnant for the first time since the game’s release. While married couples were able to have babies simply by clicking on the crib before, this update allows any female Sim, regardless of marital status, to become pregnant.
While no explicit cause was given about the ban, the official statement from EA emphasized the game’s diverse values.
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.
In light of regional standards, starting July 5, 2018, The Sims FreePlay won’t be available in the China, and six other countries’ App Store. After this date, you won’t be able to download it from the storefronts.
This has caused fans to speculate that the removal is due to the game’s LGBT content. The Sims series has always allowed for same-sex relationships. Marriage and adoption options for same-sex couples have been introduced throughout the franchise.
An update to The Sims 4 in 2016 was notable for removing gender restrictions on clothing and accessories and allowing for a wide range of gender customization options including body frame, toilet usage position, and ability to become pregnant or get others pregnant.
The gender customization options are not part of The Sims Freeplay, however, and since same-sex relationships have been allowed in the mobile game since it was released in 2011, it is unclear as to why this ban is being put in place just now.
There is no news on what this means for the main Sims games or for The Sims Mobile.