Russia Bans Children From 'The Sims 4' Because Gay Relationships Are 'Damaging To Youth'

Russia has effectively banned children from playing The Sims 4 because it includes the ability to form gay relationships.

The upcoming game has received a "mature" rating in the country, meaning that only people over the age of 18 can buy it.

That's despite the fact the game is widely acknowledged to be a relatively light and harmless life simulator, with a focus on buying objects, making friends and designing your Sims' homes. The Sims is rated T for Teen (13+) in the US, and PEGI 12 in Europe.

The decision, according to EA, was made based on a recent Russian content rating law (436-FZ), which states homosexual relationships are "harmful" to children. The 2012 law has proven to be extremely controversial, and was the cause of several high-profile protests during the Sochi Winter Olympics earlier this year.

EA told Polygon that it will not change the game, despite the potential impact on sales.

"We have no plans to alter The Sims 4," Deborah Coster, a spokesperson for The Sims, told the website.

"One of the key tenets of The Sims is that it is up to the player to decide how to play the game. We provide the simulation sandbox and player choice and creativity does the rest."

The situation is almost the exact opposite of that which befell Nintendo last week, in which it was criticised for not including same-sex marriage in its own life simulator. While it apologised, Nintendo also said it would not alter the game before release.

Same-sex relationships have been possible in The Sims since the release of the first game in 2000. Gay marriages have been possible since The Sims 3.