US sanctions on trade with Iran have led to Activision Blizzard blocking Iranian gamers from accessing its massively popular MMORPG World of Warcraft.
Activision Blizzard posted a statement confirming “United States trade restrictions and economic sanction laws prohibit Blizzard from doing business with residents of certain nations, including Iran”. It went on to say that the company has recently tightened up its procedures to ensure compliance with those laws.
A further blow to Iranian gamers was dealt when Blizzard announced the US sanctions prevented them from refunding any subscriptions or the cost of pre-purchases of the latest expansion pack Mists of Pandaria.
Initially it was suspected that the ban had come from Iran. Siavesh a poster on the MMO-Champion forums had complained of difficulty accessing the game and shared an image of a pamphlet from the Islamic Revolution Games Designers community who receive funding for the Iranian Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance.
The pamphlet listed World of Warcraft amongst other games as western propaganda used to poison the minds of the youth population in Iran. It criticised the game for promoting myth and superstition, as well as featuring inappropriate clothing for female characters.
In November, the Iranian government banned Battlefield 3 for featuring a strike on Tehran. Predictably, they responded by commissioning a game called Attack on Tel Aviv.
World of Warcraft is the world’s largest massively multiplayer online role playing game with over 10 million users. The expansion Mists of Pandaria will be released on September 25.
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