Sony’s decision back in October to not allow the release of Modern Warfare in Russia has recently caught the internet’s attention. Owing its surge to the public’s attention in large part to Censored Gaming the entire event is shrouded in both complexity and more questions than will likely ever be answered for quite some time.
What is known is the announcement came VIA a twitter confirmation back on October 22. With Activision simply mentioning Sony Interactive had declined to sell the game on the Russian PS4 store. When reached out for further comment Sony provided no further clarification than to confirm that indeed the title would not be released on their store.
В основе Modern Warfare – полностью вымышленная история, тщательно созданная, чтобы доставить удовольствие всем игрокам. SIE решили не продавать игру в российском PS Store. Мы с нетерпением ждем выхода игры в цифровом варианте для ПК и Xbox 25 октября.
— Call of Duty Russia (@CallofDutyRU) October 22, 2019
At the heart of Modern Warfare is a fully fictional story, carefully crafted to give pleasure to all players. SIE decided not to sell the game in the Russian PS Store. We look forward to the release of the game in digital form for PC and Xbox on October 25th.
Even after research there are still more questions than answers. One can speculate the decision was a matter of market size Sony has over Microsoft in the European markets. It can be pointed out that Russia’s long standing history of institutionalized piracy and available markets for pirates renders the nations interest in attempting to regulate the market minute. That Russia as a state sees more geostrategic value in not tackling the significant piracy industry as it helps feed into their Information warfare networks and systems. Thus Sony is the only company that reasonably could be held responsible, but that never resolves why they wouldn’t go after Activision in the same manner they went after Paradox Interactive over the White Wolf Fiasco?
This is especially concerning as Playstation Europe is merely a branch of Sony Corp, which would afford them the same legal protections that Microsoft and Activision enjoys. It is also noteworthy that in the Russian Territory Activision censored the game renaming Russian forces: Barkov’s People and White Helmets are renamed Green Helmets, but as Censored Gaming has demonstrated it has done little to dampen the core issue that the game is blatant propaganda!
Whatever the underlying reasons that has led Sony to refuse to sell the game in Russia, the driving force is the game’s propaganda narrative that paints Russia as a comedic evil power who is blamed for war crimes historically caused by the United State Military. Organizations that are known to carry propaganda efforts like the White Helmets who infamously faked two chemical weapon attacks are portrayed as heroic organizations in the game’s narrative.
Hassan Diab, the little boy seen in the White Helmets video, was located by Russian Forces alive, as reported by Veterans Today, and brought before the United Nations to give testimony as to how the White Helmets had faked the chemical weapon attack. Later the UN investigation cleared Syria of having carried out chemical weapons attacks which was fairly obvious given Syria prior to the attacks had turned over all their chemical weapons.
Of course the same media that has talked about Bombshells that aren’t happening in the impeachment hearings decided that wasn’t worth broadcasting as it didn’t fit the narrative of Assad Man Bad, Russia evil, you know this script by now.
Therein lies why people don’t like propaganda in video games. More so beyond just resenting the attempted brainwashing, it drags conversations into controversial and heated discussions.
When people play video games they don’t want to have to deal with issues like the White Helmets and the ongoing Syrian War and which side is telling the truth.
Yet here we are because one company decided to profit off an ongoing conflict, a nation objects to the blatant propaganda in their product, and another has decided for unknown reasons to not carry the game on their store.
Perhaps there will come a day when the whole story has been revealed. Whether it is an epic involving mountains of legal machinations and political intrigue to rival the best spy flicks or if is a lame duck story of Sony pulling another Sony will be known only then. Right now gamers are just left perplexed and once again tired of being embroidered in a controversy that shouldn’t exist in the first place.