League of Legends fans in Iran and Syria have been blocked from playing the game as tensions between the two nations and the United States rise.
As reported by Dot Esports (thanks, PCGN), since yesterday (22nd June) players have reported receiving a message informing them that the game has been blocked in each respective country following trade sanctions applied by the U.S. government. Developer Riot, which is based in the U.S., seemingly has no choice but to comply.
“Due to U.S. laws and regulations, players in your country cannot access League of Legends at this time,” the message states, as shared by an Iranian player on the official LoL forums.
“Such restrictions are subject to change by the U.S. government, so if and when that happens, we will look forward to having you back on the rift.”
As you might expect, the block hasn’t prevented all players from logging on – VPNs are enabling some to sidestep the ban – but it’s thought to be the first time an online video game’s availability has been included as a sanction.