Battlefield 3 Banned in Iran Over Tehran Scenario

Lebanon's The Daily Star reports that Electronic Arts' just-released military first-person shooter Battlefield 3 has been banned in Iran based on an in-game scenario involving a fictional assault on Tehran. The scenario in question involves intense gunfights taking place in various military, industrial and urban areas located in the capital, including Tehran's historic Grand Bazaar.

"All computer stores are prohibited from selling this illegal game," an unnamed deputy with the security and intelligence division of Iran's police said in a statement.

According to the report, a Tehran-based IT union warned all shops to abide by the ban, and so far many seem to be heeding the warning. Several shops even declined to stock the game when it was released, anticipating a possible ban over the sensitive issue.

However a number of shops have apparently refused to cooperate, as one store owner stated that police raided several shops and actually arrested owners for secretly selling the shooter... before the ban was officially set into place.

What makes this ban interesting is that the game isn't legally available in Iran in the first place. There are no official EA resellers established in Iran, leaving room for pirated copies to reach every street corner. For the publisher, the ban is a good thing, as the company hopes it will help prevent pirated copies from reaching Iranian players. Had Battlefield 3 been legally available on retail shelves, EA would currently be singing a different (sad) tune.

Still, legal or not, Battlefield is causing angst amongst the Iranian people, especially a group of Iranian youths. Currently they are protesting the game via an online petition to the Iranian government, and have thus far received more than 5,000 signatures to back their cause.

"We understand that the story of a videogame is hypothetical ... (but) we believe the game is purposely released at a time when the U.S. is pushing the international community into fearing Iran," the group claims.

Developed by DICE, EA's highly-anticipated Battlefield 3 sold more than 5 million copies after storming retails shelves for an entire week. The game is currently available here in the States for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Windows PC.

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    Top Comments
  • oxiide
    demonhorde665did russian's cry becasue the game STALKER featured realistically mapped out landscapes of Chernobyl ? NO they didn't and niether did their goverment.

    Well, Chernobyl is in Ukraine not Russia, but point taken.
  • Other Comments
  • Parsian
    yeah, all the copies over there are fake and IM from there originally (not that you cannot buy the original, infact people do find them much more valuable but too expensive)
  • Parsian
    the other thing is, people over there do spend money on digital goods. even though, they may not make enough money. With some 18% inflation and tons of EU/US sanctions, people like to spend money on tech industry. To just put it to perspective about how bad the economy is, over there, a Mechanical Engineer with Masters could make as low as 400 bux a month while the cost of food and electronics are almost comparable to Canada (US is way cheaper in many things!)

    However, if somehow, one of these studios (non american publishers), open a branch in Iran, they could sell their legal product because people simply spend their money on it.

    One other issue is, the internet over there is so filtered and so slow. Online gaming is problematic in many cases and often beyond the reach dude to heavy filtering. So another reason to make people not want to spend money on an online game that they cannot play online too often.
  • Anonymous
    danwat1234: we can't buy it online from foreign sites. we don't have credit card or anything else. we don't have much choices, we have to download it or buy the pirated copies (well, this one got banned so it's not an option).
    they don't officially release games here so they should know that we have to use pirated copies.