Thailand Government Bans Tropico 5
AUG. 4, 2014 • The Cultural Promotion Department of Thailand’s Culture Ministry has declined to allow Kalypso Media’s Tropico 5 PC game to be sold in the country. The distributor New Era Thailand told the Associated Press that the game could be dangerous to peace and order in the country. The decision will not be appealed. New Era is based in Singapore with divisions in Malaysia and Thailand. After months of civil strife the Thai military took control of the southeast Asian nation last May. Tropico 5 is a country building simulation that is set on a Caribbean island. Players assume the role of a dictator from the colonial era through present day. The goals in the title are to bring prosperity to the island, navigate between super power rivalries, give positions of power to family members and retain absolute control.
Impact: In all fairness Thailand’s censors had been very active long before the military took power. But this example is just one more reminder of how uncertain worldwide game distribution can be, and why advanced localization of content is more important than ever. That said, there probably was little localization could have done to save Tropico 5 in Thailand. The Tropico series treats its subject matter with a wink and a smile yet we can see where the Culture Ministry for a military junta might not appreciate the comparisons. In that scenario a cheeky game can become a serious political statement. What is ironic is that the coup in Thailand and the original release of Tropico 5 occurred in the same month. This is actually a win for Tropico 5. The game would have generated minimal revenue in Thailand, but falling afoul of the censors is great publicity for a title three months out of initial release and not long before the game arrives on the PlayStation 4.