Sanctions Mean Crimeans Can’t Play World Of Warcraft

Since Russia annexed the Ukrainian territory of Crimea, residents lives have changed dramatically. And now it appears that they are unable to play some of the most popular video games in the world, writes Quinten Plummer for Tech Times.

World of Warcraft: Blizzard joins Valve in complying with U.S. sanctions

Blizzard has now suspended its Battle.Net service in Crimea, which means that gamers cannot play Diablo III, Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft, Heroes of the Storm and World of Warcraft. The company has apologized to customers and promised to restore its service if the situation improves.

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“You are receiving this email because, in accordance with current trade regulations relating to the region of Crimea, we are legally required to suspend access to your account,” said Blizzard. “Any recurring subscription payment will be canceled.”

Blizzard is the latest in a string of companies that have suspended services in Crimea in accordance with U.S. sanctions. Fellow gaming company Valve has also cut off access to its store for residents of Crimea.

“Your purchase cannot be completed due to U.S. trade restrictions,” read Valve’s Steam platform when a resident tried to buy a game.

Far-reaching effects of sanctions

As well as affecting gamers, the sanctions are also crippling Crimea’s ability to do business. Residents of the region can only pay for goods and services in cash, or by using the new Pro-100 credit system implemented by Russia, as major financial institutions such as Visa, MasterCard and PayPal have all pulled out of the region.

A state-owned bank in Russia came out with the Pro-100 system in order to help residents of Crimea access their cash. Even those with Russian bank cards are unable to withdraw money from ATMs in the peninsula.

Apple developers in the region have also been effected by the sanctions, with Apple terminating the contracts of Registered Apple Developers (RAD) in Crimea.

“We would like to remind you of your obligations with regard to software and all other confidential information that you obtained from Apple as a Registered Apple Developer,” read the notice from Apple. “You must promptly cease all use of and destroy such materials and comply with all the other obligations set forth termination in the RAD agreement.”

It seems that the sanctions are biting hard, but will they ultimately cause Russia to give back the Crimea to Ukraine?