L.A. Noire Banned in UAE

May 21, 2011 -

United Arab Emirates retail chain Geekay Games updated its Facebook page today with sad, if unsurprising news:

Unfortunate news, L.A. Noire has been banned. Sorry guys :(

Bummer.  The UAE’s National Media Council (NMC) did not reveal why it banned the game and so far, Rockstar has not commented on the situation.

Speculation has it that The Witcher 2 and Duke Nukem Forever will be the next titles to receive a wallop from the NMC banhammer.

Source: Middle East Gamers via Cheater87

-Reporting from San Diego, GamePolitics Contributing Editor Andrew Eisen

2 comments

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.”

No Mafia II for UAE

September 7, 2010 -

The United Arab Emirates’ National Media Council has banned the release of Take-Two Interactive’s Mafia II videogame in that country.

Nitin Mathew, of the Dubai-based distribution firm Red Entertainment Distribution, told Arabian Business that the game was banned because of its “excessive violence and nudity.”

Mafia II was going to be released at the end of August, but now it will share the same fate as its predecessor Mafia, which was also banished from the UAE. Other recent games outlawed in the UAE include Heavy Rain, Dante’s Inferno (which wasn’t even submitted to censors), Darksiders, God of War and Grand Theft Auto IV.

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Scuttlebutt: Rockstar Title Banned in UAE

May 17, 2010 -

Rockstar’s Red Dead Redemption won’t be up offered for sale in the United Arab Emirates, at least according to chatter on a forum dedicated to visitors of the MEGamers website.

In response to a post asking if the title would be available in the UAE, user GetUpYaSook offered that a “Retailer at Dubai Mall told me last night that Red Dead has indeed been banned.” None of the users seemed to worry much about the game being banned, indicating, in as many words, that such bans are not all-encompassing and there is always a way to acquire a game.

MEGamers (Via MCVUK) did ask local distributor Red Entertainment about the ban and received a “no comment.”

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Dubai University to Use Crytek Tech

March 10, 2010 -

Educators in the United Arab Emirates are attempting to push fledgling game developers towards making more socially conscious games and now one school will be able to create such applications using one of the most powerful game engines available.

The Khaleej Times reports that American University in Dubai has inked a deal with Crytek in order to use the developer’s CryEnginge as a basis for developing Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC “edutainment” titles. UAE teachers are trying to get students away from creating violent action games in order to “create content that imparts values, culture and critical thinking skills to digital natives.”

Dr  Basel Dayyani, Associate Professor of IT at the American University in Dubai on the movement:

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Foreigner Offers Look at Gaming in Dubai

March 8, 2010 -

A British ex-pat currently living in Dubai has penned an article that examines what it’s like to be a gamer in the United Arab Emirates.

Josh Brindley wrote the two-part piece for GamesLatest and began by outlining some generalities, such as how Dubai gamers seem to prefer single-player gaming over multiplayer, though the writer points out that this may be more of a factor of Xbox Live not being officially supported yet in the UAE. Sony’s PlayStation network, however, has been supported in the country since the PS3’s introduction.

UAE gamers also seem to prefer the PS3 over the Xbox 360 and sports games over shooters.

Brindley also details how easy it is to acquire banned games in the UAE:

Despite being officially banned, many games can be acquired over the counter fairly easily in the gray market because the gamers demand for it is high, and everybody’s willing to pay to play.

Many expats who’ve just moved into the country don’t know about the grey market games, so they aren’t be able to buy them.

He sums up:

Most of the differences are because gaming isn’t quite as popular as in the UK, but the market is growing rapidly so it won’t be long before most of the differences are resolved. If the UAE adopted some of the methods of distribution the UK uses, then I think the gaming market would grow faster.

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Forecast Calls for No Heavy Rain in UAE

February 23, 2010 -

The Quantic Dream-developed PlayStation 3 title Heavy Rain, which releases stateside today, will not see the light of day in the United Arab Emirates.

The Khaleej Times reports that the UAE’s National Media Council, in what sounds like a late reaction, stopped the release of the game. The paper speculated that a scene from the game in which a character is forced to perform a topless dance at gunpoint was most likely among the reasons for the game’s ban.

A Sony PR rep confirmed the game’s ban, noting that Heavy Rain “has been conceived from the earliest stages as a genuinely adult experience. This means that it deals with strong content including blood and nudity, but treats this content in amature and sensitive manner.”

Problem solving UAE residents that wish to play the game will probably not have too hard of a time finding the title according to one gamer, who said, “There’s a flourishing gray market out there and the title will be available there, if it already isn’t.”


Thanks Andrew and Gellymatos!

11 comments

Dante’s Inferno Banishes Itself from Middle East

February 8, 2010 -

Electronic Arts’ Dante’s Inferno will not be released in the Middle East.

EA didn’t even bother to submit the game to censors reports GamesLatest, apparently realizing that a game focused on the nine circles of Hell would be destined for banning, much like the treatment Darksiders, God of War and Grand Theft Auto IV received in the past from the United Arab Emirates.

In a statement, EA said, “Electronic Arts has decided not to release Dante’s Inferno in the Middle East after an evaluation process which is based on consumer tastes, preferences, platform mix and other factors.”

If a circle of Hell had to be applied to this story, the First Circle appears most appropriate—Limbo.


Thanks gellymatos!

13 comments

UAE Bans Darksiders

January 7, 2010 -

The United Arab Emirates has banned THQ’s game Darksiders reports gaming site GamesLatest.

The site notes that such bannings are not usually accompanied by a detailed explanation; instead an explanation typically offered is that a forbidden commodity “contradicts with UAE’s customs and traditions.”

The game, developed by Vigil games for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, involves demons and has players take the role of War, one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.

In the game’s setting, War is accused of breaking a scared law and “inciting a war between Heaven and Hell.” Following a battle between demons and angels that the demons win, War is “brought before the sacred Charred Council” and indicted for his crimes and has his other worldly powers removed. While being hunted by Angels, War returns to Earth in order to search for the truth, to find those responsible for deceiving him and to battle the forces of Hell.

God of War and Grand Theft Auto IV were also banned in the UAE in recent years.

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Andrew EisenZip - And yet, you can't cite a single, solitary example. (And no one said you hated anyone. Along those lines, no one claimed Sarkeesian was perfect either.)08/29/2014 - 3:51pm
Andrew EisenSaint's Row: Gat Out of Hell was just announced for PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One making it the 150th game For Everything But Wii U! Congratulations Deep Silver!08/29/2014 - 3:49pm
ZippyDSMleeI do not hate them jsut think its mostly hyperlobe.08/29/2014 - 3:40pm
Andrew EisenSleaker - I'd say that's likely. From my experience, most who have a problem with Sarkeesian's videos either want to hate them in the first place (for whatever reason) or honestly misunderstand what they're about and what they're saying.08/29/2014 - 3:16pm
james_fudgeWe appreciate your support :)08/29/2014 - 2:55pm
TechnogeekIt gives me hope that maybe, just maybe, the gaming community is not statistically indistinguishable from consisting entirely of people that your average Xbox Live caricature would look at and go "maybe you should tone it down a little bit".08/29/2014 - 2:49pm
TechnogeekI just want to say that while I've disagreed with the staff of this site on several occasions, it's still good to see that they're not automatically dismissing Anita's videos as a "misandrist scam" or whatever the preferred dismissive term is these days.08/29/2014 - 2:49pm
E. Zachary KnightZippy, So you can't find even one?08/29/2014 - 1:04pm
ZippyDSMleeAndrew Eisen:Right because shes prefect and never exaggerates... *rolls eyes*08/29/2014 - 12:53pm
SleakerAnd honestly, nearly all of the games she references, or images she depicts I've always cringed at and wondered why they were included in games to begin with, from pinups through explicit sexual depictions or direct abuse. I think it's cheap storytelling.08/29/2014 - 12:35pm
Sleaker@AE - aren't most people fundamentally misunderstanding her at this point? haha.. On a related note I think a lot of the backlash is coming from males that think she is telling them their 'Generic Male Fantasy' is bad and wrong.08/29/2014 - 12:33pm
Andrew EisenAnd no, I don't think the female community would be upset over the performance of a case study in and of itself. Possibly the mostivations behind such a study, the methodology or conclusions but not the mere idea of a case study.08/29/2014 - 12:29pm
Andrew EisenAmusingly, these videos aren't saying you can't/shouldn't use tropes or that sexual representations are inherently problematic so those are very silly things to have a problem with and indicate a fundamental misunderstanding of the series.08/29/2014 - 12:29pm
SleakerDo you think the female community would get extremely angry over a male doing a case study on the negative impact of sex-novels and their unrealistic depiction of males and how widespread they are in american culture?08/29/2014 - 12:25pm
SleakerThe other thing that people might find problematic is that they see no problem with sexual representations of females (or males) in games. And realistically, why is there anything wrong with sexual representations in fiction?08/29/2014 - 12:24pm
SleakerTo even discuss or bring up these issues at a cultural level to begin with. Going straight for games to many probably feels like a huge overstepping given that it's interactive story in many cases, and when you're telling a story why can't you use tropes.08/29/2014 - 12:21pm
SleakerI think a large part of the controversy stems from the idea that games aren't culture setters, but culture reactors, and simply depict what is already in culture. So people don't care that games use tropes or are blind to them because we've failed ...08/29/2014 - 12:20pm
AvalongodBesides, what better way to make her point for her than to respond to her opinion by behaving like a misogynistic asshole. Sure, it may be a troll account, but that doesn't make it "ok"08/29/2014 - 12:19pm
AvalongodWhether Sarkeesian is "right" or "wrong" is not relevant, neither she nor any other woman should have to expect that her opinion will be met with death threats or even just sexist language.08/29/2014 - 12:18pm
Andrew EisenOh, may as well. Zip, I challenge you to cite three specific examples from the TvW videos (use direct quotes and time stamps) and explain how/why they ring hollow or are over exaggerated.08/29/2014 - 11:56am
 

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