Saudi Arabia to ban 47 games after reported suicides

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Saudi Arabian authorities have announced that they will ban 47 videogames, following the reported suicides of two teenagers who were playing a social media “game”.

A 13-year-old girl and 12-year-old boy recently apparently committed suicide in the country after playing a social media “game” called Blue Whale which, as Forbes describes, is more akin to a form of cyber-bullying or grooming than to a videogame. 

But, as the Associated Press reported, the Saudi General Commission for Audio-Visual Media has responded by announcing that it will ban no fewer than 47 games, including Grand Theft Auto V, The Witcher and Assassin’s Creed 2 as a result of the deaths. It said those games fell foul of unspecified: “Violations of rules and regulations”. 

As yet, a full list of the banned games has not been released; nor has the Saudi General Commission for Audio-Visual Media stated when the ban will come into effect. And it isn’t clear why the Saudi Arabian authorities should feel obliged to punish the games industry for a tragedy that arose due to a toxic social media phenomenon. But as more news emerges, we’ll bring it to you.

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Steve Boxer
Steve Boxer has been writing about videogames since the early 1990s. His first console was an Atari VCS, and he misspent most of his youth in the 1980s in the arcades. As well as for Green Man Gaming, he can be found writing for The Guardian, Empire, TechRadar and Pocket-Lint. He’s currently having trouble deciding whether his favourite console is his Xbox One X or his Switch, and plays a wide range of games, but especially RPGs (he loves a good JRPG) action-adventure titles, shooters of all descriptions and driving games. Follow him here.