Video games and gamers often become victims of political affairs that have nothing to do with the games themselves. The latest example is the popular MOBA game League of Legends which can’t be accessed in Iran and Syria “due to U.S. laws and regulations”.
If you weren’t following the news recently, the conflict between Iran and the U.S. escalated a bit further. Allegedly, the Iranian army recently shot down a U.S. military drone. In response to that, the U.S. deployed trade sanctions. In addition, Iranian gamers were met by an unexpected message when trying to log into League of Legends client, it states:
“Due to U.S. laws and regulations, players in your country cannot access League of Legends at this time. 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.”
While this didn’t stop players from using VPNs to get around the ban, it’s still a huge deal. VPNs in the area can be quite expensive. It’s also worth noting that the ban won’t affect the politicians and will only hurt civilians who play video games in order to escape everyday bullcrap.
Additionally, blocking access to a video game is a novelty of economic sanctions that can set a precedent for the future. The message’s formulation indicates that Riot Games had no say in the matter.