Rogue-like poker hit Balatro pulled from sale in some countries due to unexpected ratings change

March 2, 2024
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Balatro, the poker-themed rogue-like from solo developer LocalThunk that’s been a huge critical and commercial hit since releasing last week, has been unexpectedly yanked from sale in some countries, with publisher Playstack blaming the issue on a surprise ratings change.

Playstack addressed the issue in a lengthy statement shared on social media, explaining Balatro’s temporary removal from console stores had so far only happened “some countries”. It admitted it could not “estimate with complete confidence which stores” had been impacted, adding, “Our hope is that only a minority of stores will be affected”. It says it remains “highly confident” Balatro will remain available on PC, including Steam.

The cause of all this frustration is an unexpected “overnight change” to Balatro’s age rating, which has been bumped from 3+ to 18+. According to Playstack, this change stems from an unspecified ratings board’s “mistaken belief that the game ‘contains prominent gambling imagery and materials that instructs about gambling'”.

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