The Middle-Eastern nation of Iran has officially become the first country to ban Pokemon Go, the augmented reality smartphone game that has dominated the consciousness of smartphone users worldwide.
According to a report by the BBC, The Iran’s High Council of Virtual Spaces, a governmental online filtering and monitoring agency, has restricted the use of the app due to unspecified “security concerns”.
Pokemon Go has created a number of disturbances since its release, many of which have been in regards to the game”s focus on visiting real-world locations and landmarks to both catch Pokemon and retrieve in-game items. These range from players wandering onto military bases, Holocaust Museums raising concerns of disrespect, to local communities being overrun with players.
The BBC reports that Iranian authorities were reported to have been in contact with the game’s developers, Niantic Inc, in the past month in order to “see what extent the game’s creators would co-operate with them”, before officially making a decision to ban the game nation-wide. However, the report also states that despite restrictions, Iran citizens on social media are allegedly still discussing and playing the game.
Iran is the second-largest country in the Middle East next to Egypt, and is the 18th-largest in the world. Its population comprises over 17 million people, all of whom are now restricted from playing Pokemon GO. At its peak, Pokemon GO registered over 25 million active users in the United States alone.