Earlier this week The Ministry of Justice in Iran blocked Clash of Clans because psychologists in the country believe the game promotes violence and what they are describing as ‘tribal conflict’.
They also state that, among other findings, that the game negatively affects family life for youth, who psychologists believe are addicted to playing. I reported earlier this year that close to two-thirds of mobile gamers in Iran played the game.
Players first reported having trouble accessing the game and then the ban was confirmed when the app was removed from Iran’s most popular third party app store, Cafe Bazaar (which only began publishing the popular title earlier this spring).
Judiciaries took action after the Committee for Determining Instances of Criminal Content made the recommendation to remove the game. The regulatory body had received a report from psychologists about the game.
In August, Iran was the first country to ban Pokémon Go over security concerns — which, although a severe action to take — was at least based on reasons that many authorities around the world had also expressed.
There are rumors in the gaming community in Iran that Supercell’s other title, Clash Royale, is next to be axed.
The unprecedented move bodes poorly for any other strategy games that are currently published in the Islamic Republic, most notably Clash of Kings by Elex-Tech, which has been popular for years now. But how long before it cascades over to other categories that include any gaming content that is considered to be ‘too addictive’?
None of this is exactly surprising since the country is well known for its strict stance on filtering digital platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, along with most of the wider web.
Before Supercell entered the Iran market with a localized version of Clash of Clans, Iranians accessed the game through foreign country app stores and paid for in-game purchases with gift cards that are in mass supply in the country’s black market.
The localized version allowed Iranians to pay for in-game items and upgrades using their local currency, the Iranian rial. But this boon didn’t make it past the year and gamers in Iran will have to revert back to playing the game in the black market, which they are very acquainted.
This however hits them in the same week that Iran’s currency tumbles to an all-time low, making the in-game pricing that much less affordable.