Clash of Clans, one of Supercell’s biggest hits, has been blocked in Iran. The country’s authorities fear that people may be using voice chats to coordinate protests that have been going for weeks.
- Iranian authorities suspect citizens in using Clash of Clans’ voice chat feature to talk to each other and coordinate protests, according to The New Arab report (spotted by PocketGamer.biz).
- That’s why the government decided to block access to the popular mobile game.
- This happened amid the protests that sparked in the country after the death of 22-year-old Masha Amini, who was arrested for incorrectly wearing her hijab and eventually died in custody.
- At least 185 people, including 19 children, have already been killed during the protests, according to Norway-based nonprofit Iran Human Rights. Not to mention many more arrests across the country.
Supercell has already experienced troubles in Iran
- In 2016, Clash of Clans was first blocked in Iran by the country’s Ministry of Justice. The government thought that the game promoted violence and “tribal conflict”.
- Authorities also stated that online titles cause gaming addiction, which affects family life for youth.
- This happened just months after Supercell released the official localized version of Clash of Clans on the country’s third-party Android store Cafe Bazaar.
- The latter is the only official alternative to app stores from Google and Apple. As of 2020, Cafe Bazaar had over 100k apps, including 18k games, and 30 million MAU.
Are other video games and online services available in Iran?
- As a response to the protests, the government recently shut down Instagram and WhatsApp.
- Other online services, including Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter, have long been banned in Iran. They are only available through VPN.
- So people have now started using alternative ways to communicate with each other, including Clash of Clans and other online games with chat features.
- However, gaming in Iran is also heavily restricted. In 2018, Apple completely blocked Iranian users from using the App Store due to global sanctions.
- Google Play is formally available in the country, but many Western apps are blocked by the government. Some global companies have themselves decided to boycott Iran.
- On top of that, local users can’t make any in-app purchases in Western stores due to sanctions and other financial restrictions. So Iranians have been trying to bypass these restrictions by opening cards in other countries or using other methods.
- As a result, many popular games are officially unavailable in Iran. For example, League of Legends was blocked in the country in 2019 after a new round of sanctions from the US government.