Academics in Turkey call for 'Minecraft Report' to be released

April 27, 2015 - James Fudge

A petition signed by academics who are part of the Turkish Chapter of DiGRA called on the country's Ministry of Family and Social Politics to release its "Minecraft report" to the public. It further notes that academics and experts who study video games should evaluate it before any attempts to seek court actions against the game takes place.

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'Turkey Not Banning Minecraft,' Says Diplomat

March 11, 2015 - GamePolitics Staff

While media reports coming out of Turkey suggest that the government wants to "ban" Minecraft in the region, a spokesperson at the Turkish Embassy in Washington D.C says that it is simply not true.

In an interview with Christian Science Monitor, Fatih Oke, a spokesman for the Turkish Embassy in Washington D.C. says that a ban is not possible.

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Mojang Responds To Turkish Government's Plan To Ban 'Minecraft'

March 11, 2015 - GamePolitics Staff

Mojang has responded to a report that the government of Turkey wants to ban its open-world building game Minecraft. Yesterday we reported that the government's Family and Social Policies Ministry issued a report recommending that the game be banned because it is "based on violence," might encourage children to "become isolated" and to "kill small animals" without an understanding of what they are doing.

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Turkey Inches Closer To Banning 'Minecraft'

March 10, 2015 - GamePolitics Staff

In February we reported that the government of Turkey was kicking around the idea of banning Minecraft. Today we are learning that such a ban is moving closer to becoming a reality. According to several Turkish publications, a new report from Turkey's Family and Social Policies Ministry is recommending that Minecraft be banned in the region.

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Report: Turkish Government Investigating Violence in 'Minecraft'

February 11, 2015 - GamePolitics Staff

According to a report on Turkish website Haberturk (as reported on by Newsweek and GameSpot) Turkey's family and policies minister Aysenur Islam has expressed concerns that Mojang's sandbox building game might be too violent and might "promote aggression."

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In Plain Sight: Rocket Internet Subsidiary Sells Pirated Games to Pakistan

September 29, 2014 - James Fudge

How can you buy a console game that is brand new for a little over $1? Well it could be some crazy sale to offload some inventory, or it could be the company selling these allegedly new games is engaging in piracy - or at the bare minimum allowing a third-party reseller to do so while it looks the other way. That's the case over at Kaymu.PK, an online store owned by Rocket Internet, an international Internet service provider in over 31 countries.

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'Tekken 7' Producer Seeks Feedback on Middle Eastern Character

August 11, 2014 - GamePolitics Staff

Tekken producer Katsuhiro Harada is asking for feedback on the next title in Namco Bandai's long-running fighting game series. In a Facebook post Harada showed off some early designs for a "Arab" character.

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Advocacy Group Criticizes Games That Exploit Israel-Gaza Conflict

August 5, 2014 - GamePolitics Staff

A British advocacy group is criticizing games on Google Play and Facebook that glorify or minimize the tragedies surrounding the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza. The group, Council for Arab British Understanding, said in a statement to the BBC that these games glorify violence and normalize the conflict.

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Ubisoft Experimenting with 'Culturization' of Games for Arabic Markets

August 23, 2013 - GamePolitics Staff

An interestting news story from The National details the great lengths that French publisher Ubisoft is going to in order to better serve the video games market in the Middle East. Through efforts at its Abu Dhabi office - which was opened in 2011 - Ubisoft hopes to learn more about the culture and apply it to some of its top titles.

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Taliban: Prince Harry has 'Mental Problems' for Comparing Video Games to War

January 23, 2013 -

The Taliban apparently doesn't like England's Prince Harry. Big shock there, right? But the group accused of various attacks against U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan and other activities in Pakistan says that Prince Harry has a mental illness. Prince Harry returned from a four-month deployment in Afghanistan Monday, and has been conducting a series of interviews with the British press.

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Pakistan Bans Call of Duty: Black Ops II and Medal of Honor

January 23, 2013 -

Call of Duty: Black Ops II and Medal of Honor: Warfighter have been banned in Pakistan by the All Pakistan CD, DVD, Audio Cassette Traders and Manufacturers Association (APCDACTM). The group issued a boycott of the games because they depict Pakistan and the country’s intelligence agency, the Inter Services Intelligence, as supporting terrorist group l Qaeda and jihadist organizations.

The circular handed out to shop owner members reads:

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Israel Defence Forces Accused of Gamifying Gaza Conflict With Web Game

November 21, 2012 -

Apparently Israel Defence Forces have decided to "gamify" their website to encourage viewers to promote the content, using a virtual game that awards visitors with badges and points for sharing pages through other social media sites. The gamification of the site actually happened way back in July but had a spotlight shined upon it today in this GameSpot Australia report.

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Xbox 360 Launching in Israel November 21

November 6, 2012 -

The Xbox 360 will finally launch in Israel on Nov. 21, according to an announcement made by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer in Tel Aviv. Ballmer was there to promote the new Windows 8 operating system. Microsoft launched the Xbox 360 almost seven years ago in North America, Japan and Europe in 2005 before releasing to the rest of the world between 2006 - 2008. Microsoft made the decision to not release the console in parts of the Middle East.

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Modern Warfare 2 Map Gets Pulled Over Muslim Complaints

October 8, 2012 -

The Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 and Modern Warfare 3 map, Favela has been yanked from multiplayer playlists, according to this The Escapist report and the reason for it being is removed is supposedly because of "Muslim gamers" objecting to it.

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ECA Issues Statement on the Death of U.S. Foreign Service Officer Sean Smith

September 12, 2012 -

The Entertainment Consumers Association (ECA) issued a brief statement expressing their sorrow for the loss of U.S. foreign service officer Sean Smith, who died when the U.S. Embassy in Benghazi, Libya was attacked by an angry mob protesting a film that negatively portrayed the Prophet Mohammad.

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U.S. Foreign Service Officer Killed in Libya Honored by EVE Guild Mates

September 12, 2012 -

Talking Points Memo has an interesting article on how the news broke of Sean Smith’s death in Benghazi, Libya. The foreign service officer was an avid EVE Online player who went by the name "Vile Rat" in-game. It was within that community that news of Smith's death first surfaced.

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GAMES12 Kicks Off September 20 in Dubai

August 7, 2012 -

The Gaming Alliance Middle East (which is made up of Microsoft Xbox Gulf, Sony Gulf - PlayStation Division, Pluto Games and Red Entertainment Distribution, among others) announced this week that its fifth annual GAMES event will take place in Dubai on September 20 at the Dubai Festival City. Admission for the event is free.

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Super Podcast Action Committee - Lucky Episode 13

July 30, 2012 -

We ignore the taboo of the number 13 to present you with Episode 13 of the Super Podcast Action Committee. We have no fear in us. This week Andrew Eisen and E. Zachary Knight talk about Gamers Against Bigotry, GameStop's plans for selling used digital games in Europe, the Humble Music Bundle, and Gamasutra's article about developers working in war-torn countries.

IGN Entertainment Launches IGN Middle East

May 16, 2012 -

IGN Entertainment and Middle Eastern media company T-Break Media have launched IGN Middle East, a website dedicated to gaming that will serve up game and entertainment content to an estimated audience of 340 million people in 15 countries such as the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, Egypt, and Morocco.

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Pakistan's Military Dabbles in Tablet Manufacturing

February 20, 2012 -

According to this Techland report, Pakistan’s military is building its own homegrown version of the iPad. The project is apparently a joint effort by the military using Pakistani engineering and Chinese hardware to be sold to consumers in the country. The device is being developed at an air force base in Kamra in northern Pakistan, alongside defense projects.

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New Publisher Targets Middle-Eastern Market

September 28, 2011 -

Persian Gulf-based Red Stallion Interactive officially announced its existence this week and detailed its plan to target Middle-Eastern markets with game content for mobile platforms and PC. The company's plan is to create original content and games based on original IP's that is tailored to the Arab culture.

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GDC Localization Conference Middle East Lecture

February 22, 2011 -

As part of the Game Developers Conference Localization Summit, Corbomite Games CEO Oded Sharon will discuss the challenges and benefits of working in the Middle East games market. Another unnamed speaker from the region will join Sharon.

Since the Middle East spans over 23 countries with more than 75 million internet users it is a growing and significant market untapped by most game developers. With localized titles selling significantly more in the region, it makes sense that the key to breaking into the Middle East is about catering to the local dialect.

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Columnist Weary of How Arabs and Muslims are Portrayed in Western Games

October 21, 2010 -

A columnist for the United Arab Emirates-based Khaleej Times has penned an opinion piece examining the subject of how Western made games impact (and depict) Middle Easterners.

Aijaz Zaka Syed begins by noting that his son’s favorite games are of a violent nature, and typically originate “in the land of the free." Such games are shaped by “the simplistic, With-Us or-Against-Us doctrine propounded by, you know who.”

The author tries to remind his son that the action happening on the screen is “just a game,” and that “things are not what they seem to be in the movies and videogames,” but he worries about the impression the games might be having on his off spring.

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New Partners will Sanitize, Localize Games for Middle East

October 20, 2010 -

Media firm Rubicon Group Holding has partnered with Modern Electronics Co. Ltd., the sole distributor of Sony products in Saudi Arabia, in order to localize content appearing on various Sony platforms for Middle East users.

United Arab Emirates publication The National (thanks The Escapist) details the plans, which will include dubbing "certain games” into Arabic, adding Arabian characters and eliminating scenes that could run afoul of censors. Rubicon Executive Director Ghassan Ayoubi explained, “Those games that are extra-violent, or have sensitive issues for the region, will be edited for content.”

History of Game Development in Lebanon and Jordan

April 26, 2010 -

GamesLatest series of articles on game development in the Middle East previously focused on Syria. The latest installment takes us on a tour of game makers in Lebanon and Jordan.

One of the first Lebanese-developed games was 2003’s Special Force, which focused on the fight between Hezbollah and Israel over occupying forces in Lebanon. The article claims that Hezbollah was taken with the game, and adopted it as its own, eventually merging it into its propaganda machine. While Hezbollah’s adoption of the game caused it to be banned in some Middle East countries, it did call attention the game, allowing the developers to create a sequel.

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Syrian Game Development Prospering

April 13, 2010 -

Syria is a country of approximately 22.0 million people, but it’s not often thought of as a center of game development.

While the country’s origins in game development are only about a dozen years old, the country has produced its fair share of videogames, the history of which are detailed in an article on GamesLatest, penned by Syrian game developer Radwan Kasmiya.

Kasmiya pins the delay in Syrian game development taking off on “serious” Arab developers generally gravitating towards creating corporate applications in order to make ends meet. This situation, in turn, helped to foster Syria’s independent gaming community, of which Kasmiya was a member—he released a game called War 73 in 1999, which centered on the Arab-Israeli conflicts.

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Looking at the Real World Value of Virtual World Protests

August 31, 2009 -

Protests held in virtual spaces such as Second Life have real-world political value, according to international projects lobbysist Max Burns, who pens an op-ed for Foreign Policy in Focus.

Paying particular attention to SL demonstrations against the Iranian government's post-election crackdown against opponents of the Ahmadinejad regime, Burns writes:

The active Iranian protest community in Second Life is more than a curiosity, and downplaying the importance of virtual societies in our political and social lives... understates the power of synthetic worlds in creating viable social movements...

Authoritarian governments that repress real-world demonstrations have difficulty doing the same in the synthetic world. Virtual rallies are so hard to shut off because the mechanics of virtual protest are fluid...

Indeed, the efforts of real-world governments to restrict the Internet usage of virtual protesters appears to strengthen the rallies as the online community responds to what it views as an offense against expression. So, for instance, Second Life's virtual protests continued — and even increased in scale — after real-world Iranians started to mysteriously disappear from the synthetic world...

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Surveying the Use of Video Games as Propaganda

August 24, 2009 -

Bruce on Games takes a look at the video game as propaganda.

While blogger Bruce Everiss concludes that games have generally been ignored for propaganda purposes, he argues this is because government officials are basically old school types:

The reason we have been left alone is quite obvious. Games are just another media, albeit a technically superior media. But the people with all the power, the politicians and journalists, don’t realise this because mostly they just don’t understand video games at all. We see this in the way they blame video games for violence in society when the opposite is true. And now that ignorance is protecting video game players from propaganda.

GP: we're not so sure we agree, given that a new issue-oriented Flash game pops up about once a week on the web.

At any rate, Bruce has identified a list of propaganda games. Among others they include several PC mods produced by Islamic extremists, the Religious Right's Left Behind, and the Defense Department's controversial America's Army, of which Bruce is clearly not a fan:

America’s Army is the big one. A series of games designed to foster the American Army view of the world on an unsuspecting public and also to work as a recruitment tool. This has been a remarkable success at promoting gung ho American militarism.

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PlayStation 3 Popular in Middle East, But Don't Expect Arabic Content

July 16, 2009 -

The PlayStation 3 may be struggling in major consumer markets, but Middle Eastern gamers apparently love Sony's Blu-Ray equipped console.

Emirates Business 24/7 reports that the Middle East enjoys the highest level of PS3 sales among developing countries. SCEE exec Jim Ryan commented:

The PS3... has a strong market in the Middle East. The sales have been disproportionately strong in the Middle East and Africa... and parts of Asia, especially in the May-June-July period.

At least 20,000 to 25,000 PS3s have been sold in developing countries this year and 80 per cent of that was in the Middle East... In other emerging countries such as Iran and Africa it's entry-level machines like the PS2 which... are moving fast.

The high summer temperatures, combined with the economic downturn, have encouraged [Middle Eastern] users to stay at home, which is another major driver of sales.

Despite the PS3's relative success, gamers in the Middle Eastern market shouldn't expect much in the way of culturally familiar games on the system, Ryan said:

Without too much of Arabic content in games, sales figures are positive. Unless gaming companies see big returns from the localisation or Arabisation of content there will be no investment made on that front.

Emirates Business 24/7 reports that the total Middle Eastern gaming market for systems and software is $750,000 million, with at least a third of that amount controlled by Sony.

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As Protests Rage, Iranian Second Life Residents Are Missing in Action

June 17, 2009 -

The post-election tumult in Iran has taken a toll in Second Life, where Iranian members have been notably absent in recent day, reports New World Notes:

When the widespread protest... erupted last weekend, I went searching Second Life for Residents who lived in that country. According to Linden demographic stats published last year... there were over a hundred of them then, logging into Second Life on a regular basis...

 

Linden spokesman Peter Linden confirmed to me last night, "[W]e've not seen any log-ins from Iran." ...the utter lack of Iranian log-ins in the last few days suggests that Second Life is being blocked, or that Internet connectivity has become so degraded in that country, it's shut down by default...

 

For the moment, however, it is probably better that Iranians' Internet activity center on Twitter and other such tools.

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PHX Corphttp://www.gamnesia.com/news/sony-is-disabling-users-from-archiving-their-ps4-livestreams-of-until-dawn Sony is Disabling Users from Archiving Their PS4 Livestreams of Until Dawn08/27/2015 - 8:47pm
MattsworknameAndrew: SOrry I didnt get back, i went to bed before I saw your post. The Producer is listed as Arbitor36508/27/2015 - 6:06pm
Andrew EisenNope.08/27/2015 - 4:17pm
ZippyDSMleeDid you guys cover Fatal Frame 5 being nintendo Eshop only?08/27/2015 - 3:55pm
Big Perm120 bucks for a tetanus shot. Thanks Obama08/27/2015 - 3:01pm
Andrew EisenMatthew - Of course they do. I wasn't suggesting otherwise. Hell, Quiet's already been cosplayed quite a bit.08/27/2015 - 1:25pm
Big PermThere's been some pretty good Kill La Kill cosplay08/27/2015 - 12:56pm
Matthew WilsonI saw someone cosplay as the main charector from kill la kill last year at pax, so people do it.....08/27/2015 - 12:55pm
Andrew EisenPerm - Well yeah, Kojima himself said something along the lines of "Cosplay this, I dare you! No, seriously. Please cosplay this!" I was just wondering if there was an in-universe explanation.08/27/2015 - 12:45pm
Andrew EisenCheck out last week's story on The State of Play book for an updated cover and a list of all the authors and their essay titles! http://gamepolitics.com/2015/08/21/state-play-looks-current-state-video-games08/27/2015 - 12:44pm
Big PermI figured it was because titties are awesome08/27/2015 - 12:37pm
Andrew EisenI'm still waiting to see if any reviews spill the beans on the story reasons behind Quiet's goofy getup in Metal Gear Solid 508/27/2015 - 12:33pm
ZippyDSMleeHave you seen what the Deva wrestlers wear? Now lets get all that Japan only DLC for DOA over here, and DOA Volly ball,ect let the whining commence!08/27/2015 - 12:18pm
Matthew Wilsonsuprisingly, there has not been the negative reaction I was expecting.08/27/2015 - 12:13pm
Andrew EisenWe should devote a segment to R. Mika's costume on the podcast. It'll be great!08/27/2015 - 11:40am
Andrew EisenMatt - So... who is the producer of the video you linked?08/27/2015 - 11:15am
ZippyDSMleeAnd its not as bad as rumble roses :P08/27/2015 - 11:14am
ZippyDSMleeE. Zachary Knight: I dunno wrestling is about spectacle nd bad costumes are part and parcel of it..08/27/2015 - 11:13am
Big PermThis costume is amazing. Praise it08/27/2015 - 10:59am
E. Zachary KnightOh wow. This costume is obnoxious. Why? The character and moves are cool but man that costume. Ugh. http://kotaku.com/r-mika-and-her-ridiculous-outfit-join-street-fighter-v-172692528208/27/2015 - 10:56am

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