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The state of play

Heavy Rain, the latest PS3 game, has been banned in the UAE due to its ‘adult’ content.

February 24, 2010 3:37 by

Gaming enthusiasts in the UAE will not be able to buy Heavy Rain, the latest PlayStation 3 game to hit the market, because it has been banned in the country, according to media reports.

“The UAE’s National Media Council (NMC) has banned Heavy Rain on PlayStation3,” Sony said in a statement to video gaming blog Kotaku. However, the firm said that the game, which has an 18+ PEGI rating, had always been conceived as an adult experience.

“This means that it deals with strong content including blood and nudity, but treats this content in a mature and sensitive manner. The game is not intentionally controversial or sensationalist, and all the themes and content are consistent with what consumers would expect to see in a mainstream Hollywood thriller,” said Sony.

The game, released by Quantic Dream, is the second game this year to be banned in the UAE, the first being THQ’s Darksiders. And earlier this month, Electronic Arts decided to call off the sale of the game Dante’s Inferno, since it assumed the game would be seen as clashing with UAE cultural values, and would possibly face a ban by the NMC.

But do you think gaming companies should start imposing self-censorship? Should they preemptively ban their game from the UAE before it has been assessed by the NMC? Or is it better to at least try their luck and hope that their game doesn’t get barred?

In the meantime, many UAE gamers on sites like Kotaku say that they have already managed to get a copy of Heavy Rain, thanks to the grey market here. With pirated copies so readily available, can game bans ever be completely effective?

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