The relationship between Russia and the West has seen better days. Ukraine has been a flash point over the past couple of years with Russian forces taking over a part of the country known as Crimea.
Ukraine and the West called the annexation an illegal act, but were limited in their response. An all-out war with Russia because a tiny part of Ukraine was invaded by Russian forces? Sorry Ukraine, you’re on your own with that one.
Instead, the West pushed economic sanctions against the region. Today, Blizzard joined the lengthy list of companies who have already ceased operations in the area.
What are these sanctions?
U.S. companies from McDonalds to Apple have shut down services in the region. On Tuesday, Blizzard told to players in the region that they will be suspending their Battle.net accounts.
“In accordance with current trade regulations relating to the region of Crimea, we are legally required to suspend access to your Battle.net account,” reads the Blizzard notice according to Russian gaming site Geektimes.ru (via The Moscow Times).
Blizzard isn’t the only gaming company to apply sanctions to Crimea. Valve ceased its operations of Steam in the area earlier this year.
I doubt folks living in Crimea are worried about getting more card packs in Hearthstone right now, but it does highlight the scope of the Western sanctions against the region.
This isn’t the first time Blizzard has cut a region/country off due to sanctions.
Blizzard did the same thing in Iran due to similar U.S. sanctions. Iranians may get their first taste of World of Warcraft soon if the nuke deal between them and the West goes through. You can read more about the Iranian nuke deal here, but here’s the gist.
The U.S., France, Britain, China, Russia and Germany want to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon. At least, very quickly or without anyone knowing. Iran wants relief from crippling economic sanctions. The entire deal is a lot more nuanced than this, but those are the basic points.