By: Stephen Crane (Photo: Flickr user The U.S. Army)
Considering the depiction of the Middle East and Iran in particular, it's no real surprise that Iran has officially taken to banning Battlefield 3 for sale. According to Industry Gamers, Battlefield 3 earned itself a 5,000 person petition against the game because it does "nothing but harm the image of Iran." Iran has also cracked down on the sale of pirated copies of the game as the Combatant Clergy Association are going after street vendors. EA's response is rather surprising as according to the article they said "In that Battlefield 3 is not available for purchase in Iran, we can only hope the ban will help prevent pirated copies reaching consumers there."
It really just goes to show how much EA hates software piracy. If there is absolutely no other way to play the game where you live than through illegal means, they don't want your hands on it at all. It's sort of understandable because there are no profitable gains for them in the matter, but it doesn't do much for the publicity of EA when their only concerns in regards to losing a country's worth of userbase is met strictly with an "as long as it isn't pirated" mentality. Considering their recent track record for DRM and general consumer unhappy attitudes, you would think they'd tone it down a little.
Either way, it is rather unfortunate that this censorship is happening in Iran. I could see gamers boycotting the game for the way it's presented, but raiding legitimate shops and street vendors to remove the game does feel a bit excessive. The game did nothing to color my perceptions of Iran, and I hope it didn't make anyone think less of Iran or its people. The Iranian government's response to the game, however, does give me pause to think, however.