Wednesday, January 04, 2017

Iran Bans Mobile Game 'Clash of Clans'

Video game bans are always an amusing subject on The Geek Spot. From the absurd to the impractical reasons, at this point banning games and consoles is a time-honored tradition. If you have an M-rated game, you are sure to find that your product will not be allowed in at least one country.

Or you can be a mobile game like Clash of Clans and get banned in Iran. Their government is concerned that the game would promote conflict among tribal groups in the country. There is also concern that teenagers are becoming addicted to the game it's disrupting home life, however there is no tangible evidence to back up this claim. Clash of Clans is a freemium, MMO strategy game where you build a town and an army. From there you can create alliances to strengthen your numbers, or conquer other clans.

When the game was released in Iran, it made up 64% of the mobile game market. Big numbers, for sure. With it's popularity, the government looked closer at the content and felt that the product had to be restricted. It is currently only accessible through VPN's, and they are requiring the developer to make changes before allowing it back on their market. According to Iran's Deputy Attorney General, most on the committee were in favor of banning the game.

This isn't the first time Iran has banned a game. It's well-known that the region is sensitive to outside media that enters their country. Even Pokémon Go was banned, with concern that the game would cause people to enter religious sanctums or unwanted areas. Games like FIFA have an underground market, at it's lowest selling for $99USD. It's an area that few developers want to deal with because of all of the laws that the Iranian government imposes on media.

The developer, Supercell, has not responded to the ban, yet. The details on what Iran is asking Supercell to change are also unknown. More then likely Supercell will either make no tweaks to the game to make it acceptable to Iran's laws, or not do a thing. Released in 2012, Clash of Clans is still ranked as one of the top 5 games to download and brings in $500,000 USD daily. This was after Iran banned the game. I think they'll be fine with not pursuing that market.

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