RimWorld was made unavailable for purchase by Australian customers on Steam today.
This was announced by a news post on the RimWorld Steam page. According to the post, users who already purchased RimWorld are still able to play the game and receive updates. Access to the community forums and workshop are also still available. Australian users are still able to purchase expansions for RimWorld if they already own the game. They will also be able to play these expansions with no issue. The post goes on to say that the reasoning behind banning RimWorld comes from a classification of the console version of the game as "Refused Classification (RC)." In other words, the game is banned from being sold in Australia.
Furthermore, the post explains how a Refused Classification doesn't normally affect the availability of Steam games. "We did not expect this to affect the Steam version," said the post. "in previous similar cases, as with Disco Elysium for example, an RC rating on a console version did not affect the availability of the PC version on Steam."
In a previous article, we discussed the RimWorld console leak, and explained how PC games don't typically require classification in Australia. When PC games do get classified, though, the classification doesn't typically impact the availability of the PC version. This time, it appears that the rating board took the extra step. At the end of their post, the developers promise to resolve the situation as soon as possible.
Why was RimWorld banned?
The Classification Board is notorious for banning games containing themes of drug use. The Bug Butcher, a 2D side-scrolling shoot'em up, received the notorious "Refused Classification" because of a drug power-up being in the game. Fallout 3 was forcibly revised to meet Australia's classification standards by changing the name of "morphine" to "Med-X," (even though the mechanics remained the same), and they decided to make the change universal rather than just a regional one. A more recent example of this drug-related refusal of classification comes from Disco Elysium, which has a strong thematic focus on substance abuse and addiction, although that one did not affect PC availability.
RimWorld's heavy simulation aspects that dip into addiction are the most likely culprits for the game's refused classification. It's also possible that any sexual themes within the game are to blame for the refused classification, especially considering the fact that colonists can maintain relationships. MeiQ: Labyrinth of Death was refused classification in Australia for what developers describe as "an interactive touch system on the character menu." Developers of Genital Jousting, an unsurprisingly erotic game centered around combat with cartoonish genitalia, didn't bother getting the game classified for potential sale as they assumed the game would receive a refused classification anyway.
There are other countless examples of games being banned in Australia, including Valkyrie Drive Bhikkuni, Outlast 2, The Medium, and Mary Skelter 2. Interestingly enough, We Happy Few was able to appeal its ban, effectively reversing the process and allowing the game to be sold to those over the age of 18. Were the developers of RimWorld able to do the same, logic dictates the game would once again be purchasable via Steam if they could make a successful argument after investing the cost.
RimWorld is available on PC right now via Steam (unless you're in Australia). A recent update to RimWorld reduces micromanagement by improving the biosculpting mechanic. The update also includes changes to the caravan and archonexus systems.
For more information on RimWorld, stay tuned to TechRaptor.