Is This Part of the Sanctions?
The tension between Iran and the USA is at an all-time high. Last week an American drone was shot down off the coast of Iran. The Iranians claimed the drone was flying in their airspace while the Americans have said otherwise. President Donald Trump stated publically that he called off a retaliatory airstrike last minute due to the estimated death toll being too high. Instead of retaliating with violence, the American government has threatened to add to the already severe economic sanctions imposed on Iran. In other words, war is a very real possibility. As the hostilities have risen, League of Legends has also been banned in Iran, and Syria as well.
A message that appears via the in-game client reads. “Due to U.S. laws and regulations, players in your country cannot access League of Legends at this time.” The message continues, “Such restrictions are subject to change by the U.S. government, so if and when that happens, we look forward to having you back on the Rift.”
This move by the US government is not like anything we have ever seen in terms of censoring video games. Of course, countries like China have their own state-approved video games or social media platforms. And places like North Korea hardly have the internet. However, another nation stopping access to a video game is totally bizarre. League of Legends fans from Syria and Iran have voiced their frustration over this. But it is most likely their complaints will fall on deaf ears.
Only Syria and Iran are affected as of now. But this could change if the US finds itself in conflict with other nations. If they chose to implement this odd tactic again. No one is sure when the game will go back online. Only time will tell.