Blocked in Iran

A big thread popped up late last week on the WoW EU forums, where a gamer in Iran reported that he was no longer able to log onto via any Blizzard game. Much fan rage and debate ensued, until yesterday, a Blue voice weighed in. With very bad news, should any of you be located in that particular nation and desirous of gaming.

Lurdlespore: Our team has been watching this thread closely, and we understand the desire for more information about this situation. Blizzard Entertainment cannot speak to any reports surrounding the Iranian government restricting games from its citizens.

What we can tell you is that United States trade restrictions and economic sanction laws prohibit Blizzard from doing business with residents of certain nations, including Iran. Several of you have seen and cited the text in the Terms of Use which relates to these government-imposed sanctions. This week, 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.

This also prevents us from providing any refunds, credits, transfers, or other service options to accounts in these countries. We apologize for any inconvenience this causes and will happily lift these restrictions as soon as US law allows.

Before you think this doesn’t affect a lot of people, note that the current population of Iran is upwards of 75 million, and that more than half of those people are under the age of 35. For the sake of comparison, Japan’s population is about 128m, but due to the low birthrate and lack of immigration, there might actually be more people under the age of 35 (prime gaming age) in Iran than in Japan. Obviously issues of computer access, internet access, and culture and society and politics factor in as well, but this must be blocking many thousands of fans, and it’s weird to see international politics come into play in terms of access.

Incidentally, I checked our site analytics for visitors by nation, and over the past 2 months Iran ranks 80th out of 151 nations, just behind Brunei and Qatar, and just ahead of Bangladesh, Moldova, and Panama. Admittedly, all of those countries are down around .01% of the total site traffic.

Source: IncGamers.

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66 thoughts on “ Blocked in Iran

  1. So they stop all iranian people from playing diablo 3 but selling diablo 3 to the people in the first place is no problem?

    Hypocrites. It’s just about the money as usual.
    If they can sell d3 to iranian people they can bloody well refund the money spent too.

    • You know less than nothing about sanctions and their effects. So you look pretty stupid rushing to judgment. All we know is that the US has a very dumb foreign policy with Iran (the sanctions are one of the biggest things making it easier for the hardliners to remain in power).

      • You are the stupid one here, not only on this issue but on many others where you blindly, bias-ly, yet calling others biased, hug Blizzard with your unwavering devotion.

        A proper response by Blue should’ve included Blizzard attempting to make sure that they do not sale AND distribute their product in those sanction affected countries… instead of merely trying to be careful AFTER SALES HAS BEEN MADE. The person you called stupid has more merit in what he has to say.

        The company may not be able to offer refund, understandable. But, the company should’ve more careful in the first place, not to sell any. Before you run your mouth you should check with those affected with transaction happens after or before sanction occur, AND if there’s follow attempt, AND if there were efforts from Blizzard part to ensure they did not offer services (and take the money) to affected countries to begin with… considering some who complained come from WOW.

        • When was the last time you built a service that catered internationally and had to figure out international restrictions, government regulations, and licensing (probably not applicable here)?

          It’s not always so clear cut, especially when consumers figure out “hey, I can’t do it this way, but if I do X Y and Z suddenly I can bypass the rules” – which can come to bite them in the ass when it comes time to use said product that it requires online verification.

          • You are now saying that “negligence” is acceptable excuse. I will not say much about the matter, you can do your own homework to see if that kind of excuse flies.

            You clearly miss the point as well.
            – the selling of services had happened as far as 2005 (according to linked topic pointing to WOW thread).
            – linked topic shows that that information in which (number of) players come from Iran (or any banned region)… ongoing until… recently.
            – Blue states that they are sorry that it happened and blizzard can’t offer refund.

            What blizzard does not say, but should:
            – any mention about why they let it happened and dragged for so long. You do not suddenly wake up and decided to comply with law. It is something you have to keep in mind since day one your business open. I don’t know if you ever hold a stable job besides manual labor, but it is how it is.
            – that they will take all necessary action to ensure future sales/distribution will not happen in region affected by sanction.

            You need to understand that this is not an attempt to make blizzard look bad. It is an attempt to say that had situation been approached differently and If blue is more honest, transparent, and express willingness to PREVENT future occurrences from happening, the reaction by some players would’ve been more positive.

            You also need to understand that the thread is not about blizzard, it is about the sanction in which ANY company related will get affected. You can replace blizzard with any companyname; the issue still stands and the topic’s message stays exactly the same. Just because blizzard name is mentioned in an article and it is not a praise or asslicking, does not mean it talks shiet about blizzard. Really, people need to try to grow up intellectually so it matches their physical age.

          • No big deal. They can just play single player.



        • This has nothing to do with being pro or anti Blizzard. A few blog and forum posts about people not being able to play does not tell us the full story. If Blizzard was knowingly selling copies of D3 to Iran recently before the greater sanction compliance, then those responsible (whether it is the executives who failed to tell the maintainers of their Euro stores to pull the product the instant they knew this was coming) do deserve scorn and should make restitution. But there are so many potential factors at play here, that it is childish to leap to any conclusion with no firm evidence just so that you get to be the first to give the middle finger to a company that you seem to hate for some reason (I’m pretty neutral on “companies” as entities, unless they screw over the environment, promote inequality (Chik-Fil-A), that kind of thing).

          “You are the stupid one here, not only on this issue but on many others where you blindly, bias-ly, yet calling others biased, hug Blizzard with your unwavering devotion.”

          As a philosopher in the Nietzsche/Heidegger tradition, I have a very soft spot in my heart for awkward sentences. And that might be the most awkwardly written sentence I’ve ever read – bravo!

          As to your claim: What does “bias” mean to you? To me, it means a predisposition that one follows while ignoring the facts of the matter. Someone hates the Yankees, for example, because their father is from Boston and he taught them to hate the Yanks from an early age. That is a bias. So please tell me, since you evidently know so much about the motivations behind my positions – how and why am I biased? Do you think I have stock in Activision? Do you think my cousin is a Blizzard art designer or game tester? What is it?

          Happening to think that the core design decisions of Diablo 3 are a large improvement over D2 is not evidence of bias – it is just evidence that I believe what I’m saying. I have no interest or stake in Blizzard as a company. I don’t play or enjoy most of their games. I have reasons and rationale for everything I say.

          So what – pray tell – do you mean by saying that I am “bias-ly”?? Are those just hot, empty words escaping out of your mouth that contribute nothing to the conversation? I thought as much.

          • Must I hold your hand and explain things bit by bit to you?

            “A few blog and forum posts about people not being able to play does not tell us the full story.”

            Yet, you bashed those who voiced different opinion that yours then going further to tell them to learn international law. You don’t see how you contradict yourself?

            Those people whom you suggest read about international law, based their feeling on the blue post, and its lack of message saying that they will prevent future occurrence from happening. Something you claim to be “not telling whole story”. If you are clueless about this whole story thing, is because you fail to read the article and the WOW article.

            Your habit of commenting on article in blind attempt to defend blizzard is very apparent not only here but also under different article and in general forum section.

            I am neither the extreme fan of blizzard nor anti-fan of blizzard. I appreciate news like this because it has merit, alas news like is not so much that major publications will pick it up. Obviously blind-fan fulled site will not publish it either. So when you pull idiocy out of blind devotion it sticks up like sore thumb. You need to cure your emotional detachment to blizzard as if it is your wife you are dying to marry and die with. Step back, and maybe you can see that you are seeing illusion of an attack toward your loving blizzard wife. That should explain the “bias” part.

            I’d like to add hypocrite to. You actually say “…look pretty stupid rushing to judgement…” yet turn around doing so to those whom you told to read international law. Then you think that I called you bias because of a matter of D2 or D3 core game design? *facepalm*

            You know, no matter how bad or how much negative reactions others have toward D3, both legitimate or simply baseless whining, D3 will live on. So be at ease, the game you like won’t die. And if you decide to defend D3 for whatever reason, make an effort so your defense actually carry substance, and god forbid invest in doing some research and make sure you understand the issue. If you keep doing and sprouting bs like what you have been doing… it will be too obvious. If you are one of the viral marketer troops, keep in mind that investors aren’t dumb nor lazy to simply buy bs coming out of your mouth if the flaws are so large you can drain spaghetti with. If you are a legit player wanting to defend, making it an obvious hoax won’t be beneficial either. And obviously you cannot change anyone mind here. Each of us here has pretty much well-formed opinion of the state of the game or the company.

            Most people posting here are pretty much venting. Those related whether in game development or the business side of this will go above and beyond to analyze things than looking at mere halfwit fanbois/anti-fanbois bickering. You are still too green and wet behind your ear.

          • @Appl –

            You sure typed a lot of words, but all they mean is “I don’t understand the difference between ‘You shouldn’t judge a situation without knowing what is going on’ (what I said) and ‘You are wrong and Blizzard is right'” (what you seem to think I said).

    • I completely agree. The United States have had sanctions against Iran for years…and Blizzard is only now enforcing this, and only AFTER people from Iran bought the game? Really lame…… 🙄

      How about giving these people a refund?

    • Do we know that they were buying copies directly from Blizzard, and not from a third party (and thus, that it was the third party selling in Iran, not Blizzard)?

      Personally I think it’s highly unlikely that Blizzard decided to knowingly break US trade laws for the sake of selling a comparatively small number of copies of the game in Iran. The potential legal trouble would be FAR greater than the sales were worth.

      • It is surprising the US is not sanctioned by any other country in the world then. With the US the biggest nuke builders ever and actually the only ones to use them in a conflict.

        I don’t know if Iran is really building a nuclear weapon (you should also look at a strategic map and come to the conclusion that they are surrounded by US army bases, what do you think the US would do if Iran/North Korea would have bases in basically every bordering country?), but things sure seem to be preparing for a quick assault by either the Israelis or the US.

        • Except that the US hasn’t built any since the cold war and have in fact dismantled more nukes than most nuke-enabled countries have built.

          And sanctions vs the US is laughable. We have money and they want it and countries are taking advantage of it. Most countries export far more to our country than they import.

          • I was just putting things into perspective, not proposing to sanction the US. Your last two lines hit the nail on the head though, the world is ruled by money, not by common sense or justice.

          • and, as a matter of fact, you didn’t stop producing nuclear weapons after the cold war. You are continuously modernizing the stock you have (apart from the extensive dismantling).

    • Please. You know nothing about business, corporations, international sanctions, or any monetary or trade policies. So for you to comment on this subject is just ignorant (obvious from your post).

    • You do realize that the people in Iran or wherever could have bought the game from … dare i say it… another site other than blizzards.

      • You need to learn to separate speculation from known fact. WORSE, need to learn to actually read and understand news piece you are commenting.

        Is it possible to buy a game from 3rd party? Yes. Does it mean none of the players in affected region bought directly from Blizzard? Not necessarily. So you cant use that speculation then present it as fact.

        What you missed and exactly why the cat is out of the bag that you have not read and understand what you read… is that…

        Players entered their information as playing from Iran, way back since 2005. Now, why do you try to speculate or find excuse to explain THAT?

  2. That’s…pretty backhanded. Can somebody who’s been keeping up to speed on that thread see if the restrictions were in place before game release? Also if people are able to get access by using some proxy…

    • Apparently this particular sanction was in place before D3’s sale so they shouldn’t have been sold in the first place. At least some people are able to play using proxy’s.

      • Again, how do you know they were bought directly from blizzard and not purchased from someone else (another reseller/retailer) and shipped there. Chances are they were direct sales or sales from gamestop but a 3rd party selling CD keys.

  3. Wow, is this site so desperate to find ways to hate Blizzard that you stoop to straw men? Sure, Iran’s population is relatively large, especially the younger end of the spectrum. But how many of those people have access to quality computers? Quality internet connections? It’s not the third world country we all like to think it is, but seriously there just aren’t that many people affected by THIS issue. It’s certainly not everyone under 35 living in Iran as you seem to try and draw the readers conclusions towards.

    Second, the sanctions against Iran with regards to electronic distribution and service sales are new. It’s very possible that Blizzard sold copies to Iran prior to the sanctions and now has no way to interact with those customers post sale. Dogbert, your comment is so entirely ridiculous that I don’t even know where to begin…

    • Err, where exactly does the news post criticise Blizzard over this issue? All it does is say what’s happened and then suggest that it probably affects, rightly or wrongly, a larger number of people than you might think.

    • Anon, you are biased, but too clueless to see that you are one.

      You, without understanding what the article about blindly bash the site. You want the site to report what you like to see, and only on “good” things… still don’t get what you are doing here?

      The news piece here is merely a neutral news piece bringing sanction to attention. Any company, not just gaming ones (or JUST blizzard) is affected. It just happens that the news is about Blizzard.

      How you jumped with your gun and granade thinking that everything has to be an attempt to make blizzard look bad is… ridiculous, childish, stupid, harsh, and biased.

      The later part of the news merely provides an attempt to guess how big the size of the market affected by sanction is. It is not an attempt to demonize blizzard. That piece of news is not important for you, truck driver. But, news like this is valuable for those of us who are in business world. It serves as reminder before conducting any in the region and it helps in gauging the size of the market.

      I understand you are still at the mind state where you find daily evening news boring. Maybe 20 years from now when you grow up mentally, you can appreciate news programs and be more critical with what you read/see rather than blindly jumping in with machinegun on hand.

    • In your zealous rush to criticise this site you overlooked reading the news item and instead plucked one from your nether regions to comment on.

      I’d have a scroll up, read it, realise your buffoonery and get your coat and we will pretend you didn’t just make a tit of yourself.

  4. You should all really take a class on international law to understand why this is not a Blizzard issue in any way, shape, or form. But hey, keep up the hate, it’ll make you a stronger person right?

    • Rational minds would, of course, come to the conclusion that Blizzard’s hands may be tied here, as they said they are. But this post has no empathy whatsoever to the people affected. Come on, man, it’s a stark example of real-life effects of failures in international diplomacy.

      • You want empathy, hate thier country because its government tells its people what they can and cannot do. People complain every day about how bad the US is, but would you rather live in Iran or North Korea where your mind is made up for you? At least we have choices here, even if we do elect the wrong idiots into office each and every time.

        • lol yeah good idea, spread the hate machine !! hate the “nuke builders” Iran for US imposed sanctions and Blizzard’s greed !! USA! USA!

          life in that bubble must be tough.

          • Living and breathing and believing every conspiracy theory on the net must be tough. The holocaust didnt happen and 9-11 didnt either.

          • Oh you don’t believe in conspiracy theories?? That’s pretty cool you’re a facts man right ?? Found those WMD’s in Iraq yet buddy??? I’m sure there were pictures and footage and it’s was on the news…wake up champ don’t believe everything u see on tv.

            Political rant over.

  5. “… will happily lift these restrictions as soon as US law allows. ”

    And how long has Cuba been under sanction for now? 50 years?

  6. I did want to throw out there that yes, I’m sure Blizzard could have done MORE in this situation to have helped prevent some/most/all of this particular scenario. However, after having to deal with these particular types of issues personally, as well as all sorts of internet/programming/etc issues that people just pass off as \they’re dumb, why is it this way, why didn’t they just do something else instead,\ I just want to at least make a few people see that it isn’t always so simple.

    • Many people who commented did not read this article and try to understand the message. Let alone… checking the linked source topic (WOW forum topic).

      It says there that many users, entered their information stating that they bought the game, play, and reside in Iran. So no attempt to “by-pass” anything there in many of those affected players cases.

  7. What has Iran done to deserve sanctions in the first place, they follow all treaties and have not done anything to anyone. America is just trying to strong arm them into giving up their rights in a futile attempt to control the oil shipments. God forbid they get a nuke and something doesnt happen again like the 1953 iranian Coup d’état.

    • Hey hey hey, come on now !! Don’t hate on the US…
      Some of the best videogames come from there, like Diablo 1 & 2, Company of Heroes, Red Dead Redemption and other such titles.

      • Umm Company of Heroes is a Canadian game as the Developers are cased there.
        As for Red Red redemption thats a USA/UK product.

    • As I thought, to many Blizzard haters, Iran is a perfect democracy.

      Womens right, a few atomic bombs here and there, some support to boy scout organisations named al Kaida, al koda and al bomba.

      That big evil US and that greedy bad Kotick should learn a lesson or two from this peace loving country of our all great Allah !

      Sigh … I always wonder how many years I still need to hang on to this place of species.

      • So because Iran does not follow american democracy this gives bli$$ard the right to sell their people products, and then say “oh, we weren’t supposed to sell it to you in the first place, we’re blocking you and keeping your money, though luck”.

        Do you honestly think this is ethical ?

  8. Can we have some common sense around here at least once in awhile? Blizzard most likely didnt sell them thier copies. Gamestop and Best Buy probably didnt sell them thier copies. You can buy d3 just about anywhere online. If you guys believe blizzard sold them copies, and purposely broke federal law, I have some ocean front property in Montana that I will sell you cheap!

    • That’s what you need to do. Buying common sense online because you have any.
      Buy, “shame” too while at it. Because you having no common sense is shameless enough to say that others don’t have any.

      Try to explain how players required to register on before being able to play. And explain how buying physical/digital copy of game here or there relevant… after you buy and install that common sense of course.

      Also notice that the article is about [How sanction affects business, followed by attempt to guess the market size toward the end]. The one who is harping, feeling upset, and defensive, about blizzard this and that vigoruously is you. The one who b1tch and moan about blizzard this and that THE MOST is you. Others post once on the matter regardless their stance.

  9. As if anyone needed any further reason to be glad to not have been born or live in Iran. Or that entire part of the world.


  10. The military industrial complex and the global banker elites want to get rid of the resistance in the middle east. They want oil and blood. The US government was bought by banks a long time ago. Probably the most corrupt democracy in the western civilization.

  11. So it was okay to sell them the game and promise proper service? Then it was okay to shut off bnet to save on server costs once sales died down? Color it under any wording or pulled-excuses you like, semantics don’t change that the result is total bs.


  12. Apparently this is incidental, since I haven’t seen any mention of it yet… but if Blizzard were profiting from items sold to Iran (ie whether making direct, digital and subscription, sales or through physical DVDs), shouldn’t they be getting prosecuted?

  13. The comments on this website never cease to amaze me.

    I’m also blown away by the +1s that inane comments get. Very scary, very telling.

    • cool story bro, now are u gonna continue being mysterious in your judgement or are u going to give your opinion V for Vendetta??

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