Saudi Arabia bans Final Fantasy XVI from release

The Saudi Arabian government has effectively banned the official release of Final Fantasy XVI  within its borders. An official announcement from the country's Public Authority for Media stated that the game is not permitted for official release within the Kingdom.

A specific reason for the decision to deny Square Enix permission to sell Final Fantasy XVI in Saudi Arabia wasn't given, though the Public Authority for Media cited the publisher's "unwillingness to make necessary revisions" to the game. Which revisions the government requested were not detailed. A report in VGC cited earlier messages from Hattan Tawili, an official on the board, that indirectly hinted at the ban.

As for what content could have run afoul of Saudi Arabia's content standards, the Kingdom has banned games and other works for violence, sexual themes, and controversially, the inclusion of LGBT characters and content.

While the ban means that Final Fantasy XVI will not be available in physical and digital stores, lax enforcement and workarounds mean that residents of the Kingdom will likely be able to acquire the game, possibly through importers or via digital storefronts serving other regions.

Final Fantasy XVI launches on June 22, 2023, on PlayStation 5.