Balatro dev disappointed actual gambling games not rated the same way


The solo dev behind the indie poker roguelike Balatro is disappointed over how games with "actual gambling mechanics" are given age ratings, after seeing their own game's rating skyrocket due to gambling-related concerns. This came despite the fact that Balatro doesn't actually feature gambling, and the developer is strictly against it. Developer Localthunk elaborated on the age rating saga during a recent Reddit "ask me anything" session, saying they still firmly believe the decision to raise Balatro's age rating in certain regions is "unwarranted." "I still believe that the rating is unwarranted, but there is some gray area for interpretation from PEGI and at this point it is what it is," Localthunk wrote. "I think the one thing I am most disappointed by is the fact that other games with actual gambling mechanics aren't rated the same way because of their appearance/theme." In case you missed it, the roguelike hit was temporarily pulled from a number of digital stores in certain countries earlier this month due to the sudden change in its age rating, which was prompted by concerns that it "contains prominent gambling imagery and material that instructs gambling." In the countries affected, this wasn't just a small alteration in the rating, either, as in the UK, it jumped from a PEGI 3 all the way to PEGI 18. At the time, Balatro publisher Playstack released a statement saying: "Balatro does not allow or encourage gambling—and we fundamentally believe the ratings decision is unfounded. Balatro was developed by someone who is staunchly anti-gambling, and painstaking care has been taken to ensure that the game does not feature gambling mechanics of any kind." This was corroborated by Localthunk, who wrote: "I do not condone gambling (staking something personally valuable on an uncertain event) nor do I believe that Balatro contains gambling. I did add risk/reward mechanics and RNG to Balatro, but these are core mechanics to the genre at large." While being taken off stores temporarily was hardly ideal for an indie game which was peaking in popularity, thankfully, it's still been incredibly successful, and even reached 500,000 copies sold in just 10 days.


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