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Poker roguelike Balatro spared Steam delisting over gambling concerns

Poker deckbuilding roguelike Balatro has only been delisted on one platform following age-rating issues, with Steam spared the trouble.

Balatro age rating Steam: a close up of a pixelated joker card on a green background

Publisher of roguelike deckbuilding mega-hit Balatro has confirmed that the game hasn’t been removed from Steam in any regions after an overnight age-rating change tied to the card game’s poker influences saw it delisted on some storefronts. While Balatro does indeed use some of the poker ruleset for its card mechanics, publisher PlayStack has remained adamant that the age rating change is unfounded.

PlayStack has now confirmed that Balatro’s age rating problem has only impacted the Nintendo Switch version of the game in select regions, namely Europe, Australia/New Zealand, and Japan. The roguelike card game remains intact and available in all regions on Steam, PS5, and Xbox.

“Following further analysis, we can now confirm that changes to Balatro’s age rating have affected only one platform in limited regions,” Playstack writes while sharing the below graphic. “We expect to be back up everywhere later this week. We thank Microsoft, Nintendo, Sony, and Valve for their continued support.”

The solo-developed Balatro was removed from stores due to a sudden age rating spike from 3+ to 18+, with Playstack saying that a rating board had the “mistaken belief that the game ‘contains prominent gambling imagery and material that instructs about gambling.’”

Balatro age rating Steam: an image showing the platforms Balatro is currently delisted on

While yes, Balatro does contain imagery related to playing cards (which are typically used in many forms of gambling) and follows the rules set out by poker hands, it isn’t a gambling game. Poker hands are used as a foundation to score points and progress through a run, but there’s no real or virtual money wagering and no real instruction about how poker works in and of itself. Instead, Balatro uses the core rules of poker hands to make something completely different, which I imagine is part of PlayStack’s argument for reversing this decision.

This trouble comes as Balatro grossed over $1 million in just eight hours, and as of this writing, it has over 12,000 Overwhelmingly Positive Steam reviews, with a whopping 97% in favor of the game.

If you’re just getting into the game you’ll want to brush up on exactly what the Balatro Blank Voucher does, otherwise, you can check out some of our favorite roguelike games instead.

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