If you’ve been living under a rock, fresh and mounting tensions between the US and Iran have caused long dormant tensions between the two countries to resurface. The latest victims in this crossfire is the MOBA title, League of Legends (LoL); as of today, the game has been banned in the countries of Iran and Syria.
The ban was announced as US President Donald Trump began imposing “major” additional sanctions on the country. After Iran was accused of allegedly attacking a Japanese tanker with what the ship’s crew say was a drone.
For context, LoL is one of the world’s biggest MOBA (Massive Online Battle Arena) titles, and has an active player base of approximately 100 million each month. The game itself is developed and published by Riot Games, a company that has its roots in the US. For those of you wondering why Syria is part of that list, it’s because the country has been described as a key ally to Iran.
Because of the ban, LoL players based in Iran and Syria began receiving a message, stating that they would be unable to play the game due to US laws and regulations. And that any changes to the restrictions would be up to the US government. Needless to say, many Iranian and Syrian eSports fans have voiced out their disappointment over the sanctions.
To be fair, Riot Games isn’t the only game publisher to be prohibited by the new Sanctions. EA’s Origin is unavailable in the country for more or less the same reasons, and the Epic Games Store is barred from even operating within the two countries. Simply because it not allowed to operate in countries “prohibited by US Law, such as North Korea and Iran”.