It’s not unusual for online services or content to be restricted to certain countries. Netflix and YouTube, for example, are notorious for such. Copyright and licensing negotiations are usually cited as the reasons behind those prohibitions. More controversial, however, are when such restrictions are put in place because of political reasons. Such is allegedly the case when EA, without very little warning, blocked access to its Origin games in the Southeast Asian country of Myanmar, later citing embargoes and sanctions imposed by the US against certain countries.
US trade embargoes are nothing new, but rare are the times when they affect online distribution of games. And perhaps even more surprising is the sudden implementation of the block, when no such block was in place before.
The overall effect of this perhaps unforeseen move is that players in Myanmar who legitimately purchased and owns games from EA’s Origin platform suddenly find themselves unable to access the games. Some investigation revealed that the incident actually started back in September.
Usually, EA representatives are mum about the reasons why such blocks are put in place, merely parroting marketing scripts and whatnot. So it was indeed surprising when EA acknowledge that the cause was, indeed, due to US sanctions against the country. The thing is, the embargo against Myanmar was supposedly lifted already, and EA promises that it is looking into the matter to restore the service soon, if legally possible at all.
Trade sanctions are usually imposed on countries that have defied international laws or warnings. The US currently blocks trade with Cuba, Iran, North Korea, and Syria, to name a few.
VIA: PC Gamer