"In order to avoid a breach of local content laws, EA has withdrawn Dragon Age: Inquisition from sale in India and the game is no longer available for pre-order. Customers who pre-ordered the game will be contacted directly and will be fully refunded."
Simon Smith-Wright, Regional Marketing Director, Asia Pacific at Electronic Arts has confirmed the same to NDTV Gadgets on email. EA stopped releasing games on disc for PC in India earlier this year, but this also applies to the physical copies of the game that would have been sold on consoles.
The distributor for the game, Milestone Interactive said that this refers to the game's homosexual sex scenes. Rather than face the wrath of some of India's more prudish segments of society, EA have pre-emptively decided to make the game unavailable in India, without confirming or commenting on which local laws were being breached.
Sources close to the matter who chose to remain anonymous have said that this refers to users who have taken offence to some of EA's earlier games such as Dante's Inferno. Unfortunately, the exact details of the judgement in that case are not available online but it is clear that EA is willing to avoid entering the market at all, instead of risking another court case.Does this affect Dragon Age: Inquisition only?
Dragon Age II had only four character romances. They were all bisexual so players had some sort of choice. With Inquisition there are a lot more options. It sports the series' first fully gay character, Dorian, that players have the option to romance. The developer Bioware has gone with more options in terms of romances for Inquisition. There are straight, bisexual, and gay character romances because they each tell different stories.
In the Fable games, your character can be straight or gay. Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood suggests that Leonardo Da Vinci was gay. Even The Last of Us has a minor part played by a gay character and in the game's Left Behind downloadable content, we learn that Ellie is attracted to other girls. All these games are available in India as well. Our guess is that given the recent revisions to the laws pertaining to homosexuality, EA is not willing to risk any potential legal trouble.Okay, has this happened before?
Nonetheless, the games were (and still are) readily available via the grey market. And digitally as well if you're willing to use a VPN or have a friend abroad gift them to you via Steam.But I want the game anyway, what do I do?
However it does beg the question, why indulge in complete censorship? Television shows of all sorts are available in the country by exercising self-censorship in subtitles. The user base isn't spectacular in India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh but if there's a long term view to grow the market,video game companies would do well to take notice of the practises followed by other industries.
By pre-emptively deciding against selling the game before raising any questions, EA will push a lot more people into piracy. It's simpler than finding a legal workaround. People who would have paid full price for the game locally will end up importing it, buying it digitally from other stores or obtain illegal copies. Simply because EA isn't willing to cater to the market.
What do you think? Should EA have made the right decision by not bringing the game at all? Let us know in the comments.