In length of the recent announcements that the US will empose draconic sanctions upon Iran, we are witnessing the entire toll they have taken against the country. However, few have anticipated that the display of force will be applied to League of Legends, which is now forbidden in both Iran and Syria.
Those who have attempted to enter the game stumbled upon a message stating, “Due to U.S. laws and regulations players in your country cannot access League of Legends at this time.” If it is to bring any hope, they have also noted that the restrictions are subjected to change.
Not only is Iran heading towards a deep recession, but the country saw one of the most popular video games in the world restricted in it. What will the US accomplish with this remains a mystery, but players from each of the affected lands will have to stay patient for the time being.
What led to League of Legends being forbidden in Iran and Syria?
It might seem like yesterday, but more than a year has passed since president Trump withdrew from the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran. Now, as the whole world spectates in fear of a new conflict arising between the United States and Iran, the shooting down of a U.S. military drone last Thursday hastened the already existing tensions. Although the US did not respond with retaliation strikes, the Trump administration progressed with the “pressure campaign” against Tehran.
Amongst those pressures implemented to hurt the Iranian economy, a sanction never seen before in our past occurred. Unexpectedly, we saw an esports title standing next to the restrictions imposed on energy, shipping, and financial sectors. The ruthlessness of this decision affects even the youngest civilians in the society, and they by no means deserve to be an instrument of conflict. Not only are they deprived of joy in horrific circumstances, but are undeservedly detached from the rest of the world.
Fortunately, some are managing to bypass this issue by using VPNs, but for the majority in Iran and Syria, League of Legends still remains forbidden. Furthermore, those who can afford these methods face high latency, consequently being unable to play the game accordingly.
Affected players have expressed their grief with the decision but came with little response that could settle their worries. As with any other US company, Riot has little to say against the US laws and regulations and is forced to obey them. League of Legends is not the only game forbidden in Iran and Syria, with sanctions affecting numerous online games, including the Division 2, Rocket League and Apex Legends. The Epic Store also saw prohibition in each of the countries.
Why is League of Legends forbidden in Iran and Syria?
Ruthless as it is, the decision of imposing sanctions on online games is not executed to disable the Iranian and Syrian population from playing the affected titles. The issue, however, is the microtransactions that are included in most of the free games. With companies from the United States excluded from any form of trade with Iran and Syria, microtransactions are also added up to the list.
Riot, just like any other company wants to avoid difficulties with the US Securities and Exchange Commission. Therefore, we cannot place the blame on them, regarding that they are prohibited from making any transactions with consumers from Iran and Syria.
What will be the outcome of these sanctions?
The question to be asked is how will the United States profit now that the League of Legends is forbidden in Iran and Syria. Since we are testifying to a conception of an unusual model of imposing sanctions, it is still unclear what the true nature behind them might be. As far as we are concerned, there might be nothing more to them, considering that the gaming industry is not being excluded from the imposed embargo.
On the other hand, some suggest that the outburst of unhappiness displayed on social forums is the real purpose behind the decision. With that, crowds attention is being brought to the conflict, eventually leading them to support the cause for change in international relations. It will also add up to the culmination of unhappiness, especially within the younger generations, who might be more willing to ask for revisions in their countries. Either way, League of Legends stays forbidden for both Iran and Syria.
It is questionable will sanctions like these be common in the future. We are still to see will there be any responses concerning the cause, as neither Riot nor the White House issued statements. As things stand, it seems that the banns are there to stay, and will see no change until the tensions between the sides come to an end.
The decision remains controversial and brings disapproval across the internet. It is foolish to think that politics do not affect every sphere of our lives, but at least we can show compassion for our fellow gamers going through hard times in torn countries.
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