Last week, a military drone of the U.S. was shot down by Iran, resulting in the already unstable relationship between the 2 countries decaying even further. Syria is also caught up in all the chaos. This escalating tension is having an unexpected side effect: League of Legends, one of the most popular video games in the world at the moment, has been banned in Syria and Iran by the government of the United States.

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The popular MOBA game League of Legend has been banned in Syria and Iran by the U.S. government

This is a bizarre development that is unheard of in the eSports scene. Sanctions, tariffs, and threats are pretty common when countries are in dispute, but preventing civilians from accessing a video game is a new course of action. This might easily establish a precedent for other countries to follow in the future.

Unsurprisingly, some Syrian and Iranian players have found a way to navigate around the ban by using VPNs to fake their IPs. Still, considering that VPNs are quite costly in these countries, League players there are still having a hard time logging into the game.

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Players are faking IPs to get around the ban

Many have spoken up to express their despair about the situation. A common argument that they present is that this doesn’t hurt those who are in charge in any way. Instead, it only affects the lives of normal civilians who are already suffering by the war and have little comfort to ease their minds. And since this is an order from the U.S. government, it is unlikely that League’s developer Riot Games will be able to do anything about it.

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League of Legends is a free game and has to rely on selling skins for income. As a result, it has to abide by the sanctions

The ban is only applied to Iran and Syria at the moment, but if the U.S. gets into conflict with another nation in the future, its citizens might potentially have their access to League of Legends or other games blocked. The sanctions imposed on Iran forbid any business from that country to trade with the U.S. and vice versa. League, like most other games that are free to play, has to rely on selling cosmetic products for income, which clearly counts as “trading” and as a result has to abide by the sanctions.