Blizzard Bans Iranian Players From All Blizzard Games And Services

According to a statement sent directly from Blizzard, all gamers in Iran are being restricted from signing into Battle.net, and will no longer be able to play any of Blizzard games for the foreseeable future.

Last week some Iranian players started reporting sign-in difficulties, but it has only recently become apparent that these issues are the direct result of US policies, intendeded to restrict American companies from dealing directly with Iran.

"We can't speak to reports surrounding the Iranian government restricting games from its citizens... United States trade restrictions and economic sanction laws prohibit Blizzard from doing business with residents of certain nations, including Iran," read the statement. "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."

Blizzard is claiming that very few subscribers will be affected, but multiple threads on Blizzard's official forums suggest that a great number of gamers are understandably upset at being blocked from using Blizzard products for political reasons. At time of writing no refunds were being offered.

Battle.net blocked in Iran, 'World of Warcraft' and 'Diablo 3' inaccessible for some (update) [Polygon]


Comments

    The previously (relatively) unpolitical realm of gaming is now tainted by politics. I feel for Iranian gamers, especially if they've spent real money only to be shafted by political machinations. On the one hand I can sort of appreciate that an embargo is an embargo, but on the other hand, this is gaming we're talking about.

      Who knows, maybe being prevented from playing WoW by the sanctions will win over some Iranian gamers to support the reform movement in Iran.

      A missed chance for an article title like "Diplomatic relations between Iran and Azeroth terminated", though.

        Or perhaps as some others have mentioned, only serve to worsen relations as previously neutral pundits see this simply as American government interference, and the heavy hand of that same government interfering with their lives.

        I honestly don't know enough about the political situation in Iran to comment, but I do know enough about gaming to comment on this issue. It enters uncomfortable territory, to be sure. If gaming could be Switzerland, I wouldn't mind.

        yeah, because Iranian gamers are massive supporters of the regime. #facepalm

          @Ian: You're pathetically short sighted and gutless.

          http://www.mmo-champion.com/threads/1182446-Iran-s-government-banned-battle-net-s-IPs

          It's time for Iranians to make hard choices and realize they're living in Germany circa 1939. They're either going to cast off their chains or the lunatics who've bound them are going to try to wrap those same chains around the rest of the world. And just like the Nazis, they will fail to the unfortunate ruin of the Iranian people.

          People have two choices when it comes to facing despotic regimes: either risk death for liberty or cower in darkness. For any Iranian with honor, the choice can't be more clear.

            oh look! another keyboard warrior comparing Iran to Nazis. I knew Godwin's law was gonna kick it but didn't expect it to come so soon.

              Just because Godwin's law exists doesn't mean nothing should be compared to Naziism. The Iranian regime is a dictatorship, executes gays and political dissenters, vilifies Jews, and oppresses the general population. If any country should be compared with Nazi Germany, it's modern Iran.

                oh, I didn't know Nazi Germany was a proxy of another super power. so which country was directing Nazi Germany back in WWII?
                Also, how does Iran vilifies jews? Do you know Iranian Jews are treated equally in Iran as Muslims, and they have seats in the parliament?
                Can't you just admit that you are misinformed and based your views on what the media tells you without doing proper research yourself?

                  "The Iranian regime is a dictatorship"

                  No it's not. The Iranian government is a mix of a theocracy (headed by the ayatollah and a council of islamic clerics) and a democracy (the democratically elected parliament and the president).

                  Educate yourself: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Politics_of_Iran

                I agree very much with your first statement. Godwin's rule is too often interpreted as 'comparing anything to '30s fascism is off limits.' Some things should be compared.

                Your final statement, however, is idiotic. There are plenty of countries in the world that suppress dissidents, oppresses the general population etc. Tight US ally Saudi Arabia, for instance - where people are much less free than Iran.

                And the Iranians don't vilify Jews. They speak against the actions of the state of Israel. That is like calling someone who denounces US foreign policy racist against Americans.

                And please remember than 20 years ago the USA sold chemical weapons and delivery systems to Saddam Hussein who used them to murders 100s of thousands of Iranian civilians.

                Iran and '30s Germany have virtually nothing in common, except how much the TV paints them as the ultimate expressions of evil.

                “The Iranian regime is a dictatorship”

                No it’s not. The Iranian government is a mix of a theocracy (headed by the ayatollah and a council of islamic clerics) and a democracy (the democratically elected parliament and the president).

                Educate yourself: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Politics_of_Iran

              Oh please, i seriously wish some people would stop believing politic-fueled news.

              First things first, Iran is a backward country at points but so is America. While Iran is very religion fueled so such as Women are effectively second-class citizens in America and the UK anybody who doesn't have a large amount of cash are 2nd/3rd class citizens.
              Give me a reason why only a handful countries should have access to nuclear power. Let's assume the yanks are right and Iran's "search for nuclear energy" is actually a front for "OLOL LET'S NUKE THE WEST" - we still can't prove that and we have no right to tell other countries what they are allowed.
              There's no wonder the US and UK are the most hated countries in the world, the US can't keep it's obese arse out of other countries, murdering enough people that it makes Chairman Mao look innocent and the UK is just the stupid lapdog, barking at every command.

              Second, Wiggy, how in the hell do you think Iran are going to try "wrap their chains around the rest of the world". Iran aren't even militarily strong enough to beat my book collection, nevermind a real country. They would lose any war they entered because, again, the yanks can't keep out of it and are just looking for a reason to go to war with Iran, they've openly admitted that. Iran do not have the technological power to face any real country.

              Sten : Iran doesn't vilify jews, you're mistaking Iran with Syria. Iran also do not execute random people on the street as much as the media would love you to believe. over 80% of Iran's executions are for drug trafficing, rest for capital crimes like Murder, rape, etc. You know something, I'm all for that, hang all of those bastards. here in the UK we practically give anybody a slap on the wrist and tell them not to do it again, capital punishment is a great thing.

              Right, Iran is just preparing to rise up and conquer the whole Middle East. This country that hasn't attacked anyone in 30 years of the same leadership and has a military budget literally 1% of the USA, a country that has invaded, destabilized, or supported dictators in pretty much every other nation in the whole region.

            I agree with some of your points and there are definitely some hard choices ahead. Iranians need to stand up for their own liberties as does any nations people but maybe (you know just maybe) tone it down a little and walk a mile in their shoes before you get on your high horse.

            You may choose death for liberty and it may be an easy choice for you but you don’t have have kids and family that are also going to be killed/tortured etc for you choosing that. Stick to judging the situation if you must but not the victims of it. It’s always easy to call for action and talk of honour and cowardice from the comfort of your keyboard, not so much when you and your families lives are hanging by those choices.

              Well said mate, its easy to talk about fighting the regime when your in one of the best countries in the world...

            "People have two choices when it comes to facing despotic regimes: either risk death for liberty or cower in darkness. For any Iranian with honor, the choice can’t be more clear"

            That's easy for you to say while sitting in front of your PC in a country where you don't have to worry about your government imprisoning or executing you for doing anything they may determine to be "subversive", which they decide not you

            @Wiggymaster

            What a condescending attitude. You think there's a clear distinction between being a sheep and batman, because you're fortunate enough to live in a country where you have the luxury of freedom of speech and basic human rights.

            Even your "any Iranian with honour" remark reveals that you're a keyboard warrior with a juvenile and absolutist idea of how the real world works. Just how do you think these unarmed peasants are going to revolt? This isn't the Arab Spring any more. There's no central spark to ignite a revolution. Just a bunch of terrified people who are living day by day so some privileged Westerner behind a monitor can tell them to grow some nuts and get their family killed.

            For someone who accuses another of gutlessness, you're expressing the puerile and disgusting sentiment of a spoiled and bubble-wrapped war-fetishist.

    Export controls are like govt kiddie controls.

    You can't really blame Blizzard for doing this. United States are the ones enforcing this restriction. It is a shame however, to see how today's conflicts are leading to censorship of entertainment through the political system. It would of been nice to find out whether or not Blizzard opposed the restriction or complied.

      Well given that not exporting stuff to Iran has (as I understand it) been the law in the US for quite some time now, the fact that Blizzard is only implementing this in August 2012 suggests they were, at the very least, rather slow in imposing the ban.

    This is pretty messed up. Granted, restricting trade with Iran is a political issue and I guess it's easier to just throw a blanket over everything rather than assess each business on an individual basis - however, I fail to see how stopping Iranians from enjoying their leisure time via videogames will help.
    Blizzard aren't to blame for complying with the law, but this just screams "ridiculous" to me.

    I wonder if steam will go of-line to?I would be royal pissed if my steam games collection was embargoed.

    Yes, we should feel sorry for Iranian gamers.

    But really, there's a much more important issue here.

    The sanctions have been put in place because Iran is covertly developing nuclear weapons AND is actively threatening its neighbours (most notably Israel, but Saudi Arabia and Iraq and UAE and others are also directly affected.)

    Iran is blocking nuclear inspectors, and has recently stepped up its centrifuge capacity, for the processing of material for nuclear warheads. Their processing is being done in underground sites, out in the middle of the desert, surrounded by air defences.

    These sanctions are also supported by the EU and other countries. They are designed to put pressure on Iran's military-theocratic, undemocratic government, to force it to stop development on nuclear weapons.

    This is the reality of the situation. It is quite dire. If Iran does not shift its position, Israel will be forced to make preemptive attacks on Iran, with the tactit approval and support of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and others; none of whom want an Iranian nuclear-capable superpower in the region.

    So, bad news for gamers in Iran. But the big picture is much, much worse.

      This is a very political commentary, and so far as I can tell, based off the say so of the same governments you mention here. There is a bigger picture yes, but let's keep this in the gaming perspective, what does this do to change anything?

      Punish gamers and suddenly Iran changes its mind on a potential nuclear programme because they have some angry gamers?

        In isolation, cutting off games probably does nothing, but this is a full sanction, every one is out.

        Do you not understand the concept of an embargo? You realise that gaming is NOT the central target?

        It's not aimed at cutting of gaming, it's removing all company connections.

      Completely agree. A very well thought out response. We (yes we - Australia) are literally on the brink of being dragged into another proxy war. Have no doubt - THIS WILL AFFECT YOUR LIFE - Perhaps some of the people talking [email protected] above should read the news.

        And where does your news come from? I am not in any particular favour of Iran, nor do I have any ties to them. Speaking from a wholly gaming perspective, this seems like a very disproportionate response to a legitimate gaming community. How would you feel if you were suddenly deemed an enemy of the free world and had your accounts and games blocked.

        You only see the side you want to see, without considering for one moment that quite possibly, most of the people affected by this issue have nothing to do with Iranian politics, nor would they be in a position to challenge the Iranian establishment.

        Perhaps it is YOU who needs to read some unbiased news before you spout opinion as unassailable fact.

          YOU only see the side that YOU want to see. - our news comes from the UNITED NATIONS and the IRANIAN government. The IRANIAN government will not let UN inspectors in. So a couple of shut down WOW accounts is nothing compared to what Israel has said it will do.

            Do what?
            Are you serious? Do you only watch the Mainstream Media?
            Iran let in the UN inspectors several times.
            They have found no evidence of development of WMDs.
            It's all U.S propaganda to push another war... Aka, Iraq ver. 2.0.

            But lets play devils advocate...
            Who cares if they make nukes? They currently have zero... In this modern age, emerging countries need nuclear deterrents to prevent the likes of the U.S from unjustly invading.
            The U.S has how many thousand nukes?

            Get a grip... Look at it from a historic perspective.
            How many countries has Iran invaded and conquered? ZERO.
            How many has the U.S? Over 50.

              A) I am not pro US.
              B) I READ.
              C) You are an idiot. The PERSIAN WARS. Iran has invaded other countries. Watch the movie 300.

                Would you care to elaborate on the UN inspections??? Because you are digging yourself a large hole.

                  http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/empire/2011/11/20111130111954972639.html
                  http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3778666,00.html
                  http://edition.presstv.ir/detail/107491.html

                  Do you need more?
                  Just a couple;
                  http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/4178804.stm
                  http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2012/01/09/panetta-admits-iran-not-developing-nukes/

                Modern Iran, not ancient Iran.
                Take it from the same time frame as when the U.S was established.

                  So your arguement is that the US has invaded more countries than Iran. From this singular premise you have extrapolated that the US is invading Iraq for a reason other than that given. Great case.

                Dear god, you actually use 300 as a pretext to define an argument, if that is not counterintuitive enough, then there is little hope for your 'founded' argument...

                Jesus fucking Christ. That happened, what, 2500 years ago? And this is your evidence that Iran is an aggressive country?

                You are aware that just 60 years ago the USA/UK deposed the democratically elected president of Iran and installed a 30 year dictator, right? Did they ever do anything like that to us? How the fuck would you feel?

                You read...COMIC BOOKS, asshole.

                "C) You are an idiot. The PERSIAN WARS. Iran has invaded other countries. Watch the movie 300."

                Bwahahahah xD

              Who cares if they make nukes?!? Who cares if an insane theocratical homicidal regime makes bombs capable of pulverizing entire cities? It makes me fear for the future of humanity when I read ignorant myopic comments like yours.

              Comparing Iran to the US is beyond stupid - the US doesn't murder its own citizens for the "crime" of homosexuality, and it doesn't use human wave tactics as a routine method of warfare. The US may not value human life very highly, but Iran doesn't value human life at all.

                Where is your proof that Iran doesn't care about human life at all?

                Please bear in mind the majority of Iranians do NOT follow the extreme religious ideologies that is reported in the media.

                No, Americans value American lives very highly. That's why we use drones that kill families like a video game, after which the pilot leaves their air conditioned office and goes home to eat dinner safe with their families in the Las Vegas suburbs.

                It's the lives of fucking brown people we don't give a shit about.

                The US has far, far more (brown) people in prison per capita than Iran. In US prisons, sexual slavery and gang rape is the norm, and Americans joke about it - 'don't drop the soap!'

                The US used cancer causing shells heavily in the Iraq War, which blow all around the area and have increased the cancer rate in Iran.

                What the FUCK did the Iranians ever do to us or anyone else?

            Perhaps you should also look at the link above!!!!!! The Iranian gov is ALSO blocking civilians from accessing games. The same allegations are on the BBC website. As I said perhaps the people talking [email protected] should read the news. If you have a reliable source that provides more and/or conflicting coverage feel free to post it.

              The reason for this action according to Iran is that they are disconnecting their citizens from the internet with ambitions of creating their own internet.

              I don't particularly agree with the move, as I am just anti government in general.
              I don't believe it is up to ANY government to specify "whats good" for its citizenry.
              But I can see Iran's actions as a way of protecting the citizens from unwanted hate and propaganda.

              Beside the point is that if Iran doesn't block external access, Iranians will still be able to access Blizzard content via VPNs and Proxys.
              Just have to love the internet age.

            Oh but it is ok for the US to stockpile nuclear arms and threaten war on those who do not have nukes isn't it?

      Disagree. NK already has nuclear weapons and is a nation that is much more trigger-happy than Iran; Why no pressure on them? NK treats their citizens worse as well.

      Why is Israel allowed to have nuclear weapons and not Iran?

        Without going into to veto powers (china/russia) / the colonial creation of Israel / ww2 / the korean war etc - it is irrelevant. Yes NK should probably not have nukes. But A) How do you do this without full scale nuclear conflict B) South Korea has not warned of pre-emptive strikes C)hina D) - NORTH KOREA HAS SANCTIONS!!!!! E)Just because they have (in your opinion) not invaded North Korea for doing the wrong thing does not mean they shouldn't do it with IRAN. IT IS IRRELEVANT. Of course there are larger motives at work but?????ISRAEL is gonna attack!!

        That's an over simplification. NK IS subject to embargoes, but have the backing of China who don't want a unified Korea if the South is dominant. We're basically waiting for NK to do something to get China offside, and then its game over.

        As to Israel vs. Iran. I think most people would prefer Israel didn't have them either. However, they do and fortunately they don't seem to be a nuclear threat to their neighbours (obviously Israel has a track record of engaging in traditional warfare). They've restrained themselves for several decades at least.

          I agree - I also prefaced my response with " without going into veto powers etc..." So the comment that it is a bit over simplified is a bit harsh. The list could go on Pakistan, India etc... The British are to blame for ALL of this. A huge simplification but TRUE.

          It's not game over. NK holds Seoul ransom with 10s of thousands of embedded long range artillery. It is a stalemate. Even without any Chinese support, NK would cling on to power and avoid attack, because Seoul is the crown jewel of South Korea.

      I've done quite a bit if research into Iran recently, and I've not found any articles that can point to concrete evidence of Iran building anything other than a civilian nuclear power plant. While Iran has been found to be negligent in its upkeep of the NPT on several occasions, it has not been found in breach of its obligations under the treaty. At the moment all accusations of nuclear weapons development in Iran are based on circumstantial evidence.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_Non-Proliferation_Treaty#Iran

      Also; I severely doubt Israel will be able to effectively launch an attack on Iran. Israel lacks the power projection capabilities nessessary to perform such an operation. Their first hurdle would be actually reaching Iran. At best, Israel can continue to assassinate Iranian nuclear scientists.

      But hey, lets all impliment even more sanctions on them, and punish the people because of government disagreements.

        These are not the drones you are looking for.

        I agree that it doesn't seem they are pursuing nuclear weapons.

        I would, however go even further, and say that they would be fucking stupid NOT to pursue nuclear weapons. If they aren't, it's a mistake. MAD prevented war between the USA and USSR for decades. Defensive nukes work.

        Saddam Hussein willingly gave up nuclear weapons program -> country was ruined, people suffered greatly, he died.
        Gaddafi willingly gave up nuclear weapons program -> country was ruined, people suffered greatly, he died.

    GAMERS OF THE WORLD UNITE

    We should start a facebook page and tweet like mad until our Iranian gamer brothers and sisters can once again be slightly disappointed by blizzard games, just like the rest of us!!

    I also propose we hold a counterstrike tournament and let the terrorists win every round to show our disappointment. Maybe, if , if ,if enough of us want to we can start a play by post service for the Iranians where they write and tell us what to do and then we write back and tell them what happened, it will be slow but only slightly worse than the lag when playing 50KM from the CBD in Australia.

    Scumbag move Blizzard. Allowing people to buy your product and then cutting them off?

      Can't you read? It's a US law.....

    Can they still log in to cancle their recuring WoW subs or whatnot? Ive not used battlenet nor play wow but if thats all blocked to them... lol

    Proxy and VPN will get them around it.

    Good old Team America. At the very least refunds should be offered and who are the US to tell countries how to run when their Presidents are allowed to perform war crimes uncharged and condone torture. Should take care of their own affairs before judging others methinks?

    this is so fucking dumb. its so petty and weak.
    its an online game, the whole idea is that its open for the whole world.
    hopefully they get back through somehow, and i hope that someone smartens up quickly and stops all the dumb shit america is doing

    Iran is building a Ghost Academy for 'peaceful purposes'.

    Terran...Tehran...

    SUPREME LEADER ALADEEN

      Doctor: Do you want the Aladeen news or the Aladeen news?

      Patient: The Aladeen news?

      Doctor: You're HIV-Aladeen.

    Lucky they'll still be able to play D3 singleplayer... Oh wait.

    Well I understand the reasons for an embargo... but shouldn't a cultural artifact, apparently harmless and carrying western ideals and values disguised of entertainment such as a videogame actually be encouraged to thrive rather than abolished?

    I mean, I can't think of anything better than the common Iranian Joe thinking "hey, these westerners make really fun games where I can become friends with some of them. Maybe they are not truly the despicable pigs that my government wants me to think that they are!" Now they can only think "these despicable pigs think that I'm not good enough to play their games and they won't even refund the money I paid for it!"

      That would be rational and make sense. The goal is not rationalist. The goal is not peace. The goal is to extend the conflict, because conflict=profits.

      Look how well embargoes worked to help Cuba get rid of Castro. Smashing success. But the conflict gives rightwing American politicians something to squak about. It actually is a success.
      Look how well the drug war has helped to get rid of drugs. Smashing success. But the conflict allows trillions of dollars to flow into police, prisons, drug cartels, and international banks. It actually is a success.

      The people who run this world know exactly what they are doing.

    It'd be a bit hard playing WOW in an "Warzone" anyway. Wouldn't it?

    Blizzard Entertainment: Promoting world peace through stealing people's shit.

    By the way, MPAA/RIAA assholes: want to see what stealing digital content is? THIS is stealing digital content.

    *Flame suit required*

    Fuck me, the number of people who are getting angry at blizzard in this comments section is disgusting.

    A little comprehension goes a long way.

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