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Saudi Arabia bans 47 games in wake of child suicides (Updated)

By midian182 · 21 replies
Jul 18, 2018
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  1. Update: Speaking to GamesIndustry.biz, which also covered the story, the Saudi General Commission for Audio-Visual Media (GCAM) said it did not issue any bans. While the games in question are restricted from sale in the region, they were not all banned simultaneously, and not in response to any suicides.

    According to IGN Middle East, the father of the Saudi boy who committed suicide told the press that the Blue Whale challenge was to blame, which for some reason got linked to the game ban, but he later retracted this claim.

    "Currently, the 'ban' of games has been quite rare, because GCAM—and other Middle East rating boards like National Media Council in the United Arab Emirates—actually work hand in hand with the game publishers either directly or via their official distributors working,” Nazih Fares, a localisation expert for Saudi Arabia, told GameIndustry.biz.

    "For example, in the case of The Witcher 3—which I started working on its localisation—the game was localised in Arabic with subtitles and language, but also reducing the nudity and removing other cultural topics from the game that could be problematic (it was similar to the Japanese SKU of the game for example)."

    The Associated Press, which was the source of the news, still hasn’t updated its article and has failed to respond to inquiries. The original story follows below. We now know that the information provided by AP was inaccurate.

    The Associated Press reports that the 12-year-old boy and 13-year-old girl participated in the Blue Whale challenge. The social media “game” has not reached the west, but there are reports of the phenomenon in Russia, Tunisia, Egypt, and other countries.

    The challenge, which is said to have resulted in over 100 deaths, gives players 50 days to complete a series of tasks. While they start off innocuously enough, such as watching specific movies, elements of self-harm are gradually introduced, culminating in a 50th task that asks players to kill themselves.

    In 2016, 21-year-old Russian national Philipp Budeikin claimed to have invented the game back in 2013. The former psychology student said he was “just having fun.” He was sentenced to three years behind bars in 2017 for “inciting Russian youths to kill themselves.”

    The Saudi General Commission for Audio-Visual Media announced the ban, though it did not confirm that it was a direct response to the children’s deaths. With no apparent link between the Blue Whale challenge and the video games, the agency says the bans are for unspecified violations of rules and regulations.

    Exactly how the commission chose the games is unclear. The list contains titles that can hardly be considered violent, such as Yo-Kai Watch and Okami, and while some franchises like GTA, God of War, and Resident Evil appear, only select entries from the series are considered worthy of a ban.

    The report follows last week’s news that most parents don’t pay attention to a game’s age rating, with 86 percent confessing that they simply don’t follow age restrictions for video games.

    Full list of banned games:

    • Agents of Mayhem
    • Assassins Creed 2
    • Attack on Titan 2
    • Bayonetta 2
    • Clash of the Titans
    • Dante’s Inferno
    • Dead Rising 3 Apocalypse Edition
    • Deadpool
    • Deception IV: The Nightmare Process
    • Deus Ex Mankind Divided
    • Devils Third
    • DmC – Definitive edition
    • Dragon Age: Inquisition
    • Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen
    • Draw to Death
    • Final Fantasy Dissidia
    • Fist of the North Star: Ken’s Rage 2
    • God of War 1
    • God of War 2
    • God of War 3
    • Grand Theft Auto V
    • Heavy Rain
    • Hitman: Absolution (2012)
    • Life is Strange
    • Mafia 2
    • Mafia 3
    • Metro Redux
    • Okami
    • One Piece Burning Blood
    • Past Cure
    • Prison Architect
    • Resident Evil 5
    • Resident Evil 6
    • Saints Row IV
    • SplatterHouse
    • Street Fighter V
    • Street Fighter 30th Anniversary
    • The Order 1886
    • The Saboteur
    • The Witcher 3
    • The Nonary Game
    • Thief
    • Vampyr
    • Watch Dogs
    • Wolfenstein 2
    • Wolfenstein: The New Order

    Permalink to story.

    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 21, 2018
  2. Girus

    Girus TS Member

    The Saudi government basically used an unsubstantiated conspiracy to ban something that is not even remotely related to that case. Its like someone tripping down a set of stairs and dying, then the government decides that's a perfectly good excuse to ban cigarettes!

    What's with the tip toeing?
  3. ShObiT

    ShObiT TS Maniac Posts: 155   +158

    Funny, maybe childs are going that route because abuse, or child marriage or a lot more stuff that for some reason, the so called "Freedom" or "Human rights" that America used to get into Irak, Afghainistan, syria and mess with Iran and many others don't apply when talking about the Oil and Money Kings...
    erickmendes likes this.
  4. Girus

    Girus TS Member

    *Hangs self*
  5. EClyde

    EClyde TS Evangelist Posts: 1,663   +593

    Why isn't Chip's Challenge on that list?
  6. ForgottenLegion

    ForgottenLegion TS Guru Posts: 346   +346

    Ridiculous. Someone is just using any excuse to ban those video games.
    erickmendes and Lionvibez like this.
  7. Kibaruk

    Kibaruk TechSpot Paladin Posts: 3,720   +1,135

    No one is going to say anything about the game that induces people into killing themselves by desensitizing and normalizing seriously twisted stuff?

    Kudos to the government for raising awareness.
    erickmendes likes this.
  8. Girus

    Girus TS Member

    Theres no evidence to prove that game is even real. Its more like modern day urban myth.
  9. Nobina

    Nobina TS Evangelist Posts: 1,768   +1,270

    For Saudi Arabia this is pretty mild. I would expect them to ban games all together. If there's any reason to suicide it's because you're stuck in that **** hole of a country that censors everything.
    Digitalzone, picka and Lionvibez like this.
  10. TomSEA

    TomSEA TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 3,036   +1,447

    No mention of the parents of these kids. Who are the real culprits for not knowing what their kids are up to or what their state of mind is.

    But as a government, let's make ourselves feel better by banning a bunch of completely unrelated games. That should do the trick!
  11. wiyosaya

    wiyosaya TS Evangelist Posts: 3,431   +1,824

    As I see it, it is easier to blame the wrong thing rather than find the real cause and attempt to correct it. To me, that seems to happen often in the world these days, and I would not be surprised if some of the entities engaging in that practice do so because it gives the impression that they are doing something even though what they are doing is often does not correct the problem. "Answers are easy. Asking the right questions is hard." Dr. Who in "The Face of Evil".
  12. Capaill

    Capaill TS Evangelist Posts: 780   +400

    If they really wanted to stop it, they should have banned social media as that is the only way that particular "game" spreads. I don't remember seeing it on Deus Ex Mankind Divided or the Witcher 3 unless it was a DLC that I missed.
  13. MasterMace

    MasterMace TS Booster Posts: 57   +31

    Anybody else confused as to why they banned Prison Architect? All the other ones I can see as the violence aspect, but PA is more of a business simulator
  14. Mighty Duck

    Mighty Duck TS Addict Posts: 135   +73

    I love how YO-KAI WATCH is in that list. WTF?
  15. Bluescreendeath

    Bluescreendeath TS Addict Posts: 105   +115


    1) America went into Afghanistan because the Afghan Taliban supported and trained Al Qaeda, who launched terrorist attacks against America on 9-11. Afghanistan barely has any oil. They've produced basically zero no oil for most of the last 50 years and is estimated to produce less oil than a small random European country like the Czeh Republic if Chinese investments in its oil infrastructure works out.

    2) Iran conflict is due to conflict with American allies (eg. Israel) and with a hostile government and "state policy" in funding terrorist groups and proxy paramilitary. (notice the distinction from the Saudis in terms of of state policy)

    3) Iraq for oil is a nice conspiracy but there is no proof and the math doesn't add up. Even if America magically took 100% of Iraq's oil and magically made 100% profit from it without paying any expenses, it'll be more than half a century before the oil can pay back what America spent to invade and rebuild the country. And America's invasion has greatly lowered its oil production due to regional instability.
    captaincranky likes this.
  16. AbdullahAli

    AbdullahAli TS Rookie

    Games were banned long time before the two accident, pornography, nudity, magic, violence and many others are the reason to ban all above games.
    and yes, sometimes they block game with violence and allow other game as there was no rating for games in Saudi Arabia, but now we have a clear rating system, and it is used.

    techspot just copy and paste from other media websites with no official source from Saudi government website or official representative.

  17. Bp968

    Bp968 TS Enthusiast Posts: 64   +50

    "But Its for the children!" A line ive always hated. The problem isnt games, its small humans jacked up on giant amounts of hormones who think sitting still for 5 minutes is enough reason to off yourself and who believe a year is the equivalent of eternity!

    Kids, teenagers and young adults are volatile. Its just the way it is. You do your best to keep them from offing themselves or others until their old enough to figure out life is (hopefully) for the long haul, and stopping to take a breath isn't the end of the world.

    Banning crap never ever works. Just look how effective its been for drugs? (Scratch that, its been wonderfully effective if your in the law enforcement, prison enforcement, or cartel business. Not so well for the rest of us).
  18. That Dude There

    That Dude There TS Booster Posts: 114   +30

    So public beheadings are still ok?
  19. Abraka

    Abraka TS Addict Posts: 176   +54

    PUBG not banned!??
    Come on Saudi Arabia!!
  20. sac39507

    sac39507 TS Addict Posts: 234   +87

    I'm so curious to know. How is the part of "hurting yourself" of this "game" or "challenge" so convincing that you would actually do it? I mean, what are you benefiting from going through with it? I can see if there was some monetary or material of great value price but to simply do it because it's some stupid challenge is beyond my comprehension. Just like that condom through the nose thing. Kids these days have too much time and resources. Limit their food, money, and electronic usage and these things will stop. You won't see any hungry kids taking on these challenges.
  21. ShObiT

    ShObiT TS Maniac Posts: 155   +158

    Ohh look, someone Watch CNN and Foxnews to learn facts, read yourself some books written from people IN the middle east, not the media, and you'll see the other side of those bullshit stories the media and people like you keep saying.
  22. AbdullahAli

    AbdullahAli TS Rookie

    Thanks for updating the subject.

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