Mobile Gaming

Pokemon GO News: Iran Bans Pokemon GO, But Will It Stop Citizens From Playing It?

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There is always a first for everything even in Pokemon GO news. Iran has a first as its country-wide ban of Pokemon GO. The popular augmented reality game has made the news not just of its popularity but also the peripheral activities around it. Crimes and other strange things have sprouted out from the popular use of the game. Initial security concerns and a host of unfortunate incident may have led Iran to ban Pokemon GO.

An Iranian senior judicial official revealed, according to a report in The Guardian, that Pokemon GO poses a security dilemma. The official, Abdolsamad Khorramabadi, stated this last week and had added that the country?s intelligence arm also approved of the ban. He was quoted by Tasnim, a semi-official news agency in the country.

This ban seems not to faze the young and tech-savvy demographic of the Iranian population. Internet filtering is well used in Iran but the tech-savvy ones always find a way to access state-blocked apps and internet sites. The Guardian pointed out that Iranians use anti-filtering software to bypass these blocks. Also, when new state restrictions get introduced, users have been known to migrate in millions from one platform to another. The government is in for a hard time as citizens look to be, at the least, at par with state expertise. It looks like they may have risen above it.


Days after the ban, Tribune reports that tech-savvy youth still go out and play Pokemon GO. They are reported to be using VPNs or virtual private network. It is reported that most phone shops in the country offer pay-as-you-go VPN cards that masks and spoofs the locations of users phones and computers. These popular VPN cards even come with logos of banned sites like YouTube and Facebook. It is quite explicit what they are for.

Pokemon GO does not offer much in Iran though. The app automatically assigns resources, creatures and play areas using existing geographical models. These maps are quite limited in the Iranian capital. So, Iranians who want to play Pokemon GO who live outside the capital have to travel far to get there. Traffic in the city is also pretty bad and one seven-person party of Trainers were stuck for an hour in traffic just to capture three gyms.

From what it looks like, the ban will not be lifted but it will not be rigidly enforced. Stay tuned for more Pokemon GO news.

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