WoW Ban: Western Propaganda Used to Poison Iranian Youth
What happens when a political volcano of controversy bans the world’s most popular MMORPG? World of Warcraft, the multiplayer game that boasts 9.1 million users was recently blocked from the entire country of Iran. Players and hackivists are outraged, yet the precise reasoning and timing of the ban remains unclear.
For Love of The Game
Blizzard, the company that owns WoW first unleashed the magnetic world of Azeroth in 1994 with the game “Warcraft: Orcs & Humans.” They’ve since crafted the world’s largest virtual empire (Wikipedia), inviting users to live vicariously through an array of mythical creatures, building guilds and completing quests together. The tightly knit WoW community has already suffered a loss of over an estimated million users as of later. Blizzard PR Director Rob Hilburger asserts that only a small number of players lived in Iran, the ripples were still felt throughout the community.
U.S. Sanctions VS. Ahmadinejad’s Regime
Iranian message boards have been alight with disappointment and frustration since the shut down. Blizzard released the following statement in response:
“United States trade restrictions and economic sanction laws prohibit Blizzard from doing business with residents of certain nations, including Iran,” the company said in an email sent to players last week and forwarded to The Associated Press late Tuesday. “Blizzard tightened up its procedures to ensure compliance with these laws, and players connecting from the affected nations are restricted from access to Blizzard games and services.” -Israel Times
However, there’s much speculation that the Iranian government has more to do with the ban than being admitted. Beginning in 2005, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad helped spearhead a campaign to purge the Iranian Internet of all anti-Muslim, anti-government information, and prevent dissidents from organizing and communicating about protests. Iran has banned everything from meet-up forums to online casinos. According to the Times of Israel, Anonymous posted “The latest blockages could be the beginning of a long-promised plan by Iranian authorities to replace the general Internet with an Iranian “national Internet,” which would conform to Islamic principles.” An Iranian former WoW player identified as Siavash A. translated Persian text from a pamphlet outlining offensive content in the game, proclaiming WoW fosters . . .
- Promotion of superstition and mythology
- Promotion of violence from too much violence
- Abolishing the deformation in sin.
- Demonstration of inappropriate clothing and slutty outfits for female avatars.
Other Iranian texts have claimed that these video games are “examples of the means [in] which western propaganda is used to poison the mind of [the] youth population in Iran.”
Although it’s unclear where the precise blame lays, many have speculated that the U.S. and its allies are becoming increasingly stringent with Iran on account of their nuclear program. Although Tehran claims that the program is strictly for the generation of power, it’s feared that there could be a more sinister atomic portion behind it, and transparency is strongly desired.
WoW isn’t illegal in Iran, nor is it sanctioned. It’s uncertain which straw broke the camel’s back, but mounting political unrest and increasing bans and blocks may not end well for ex-guild members.