Pop Culture Across Cultures: World of Warcraft in the U.S. and the Middle East

Posted: December 2nd, 2013

Pop Culture Across Cultures: World of Warcraft in the U.S. and the Middle East




Pop Culture Across Cultures: World of Warcraft in the U.S. and the Middle East

Context and Description

World of Warcraft is an online multiplayer online role-playing video game (MMORPG) which was developed by Blizzard, a united states based entity dealing in creation of entertainment products such as video games. It is the fourth game set, which was released in what is described as the fantasy warcraft universe.  The first game was introduced by Warcraft: Orcs & Humans in 1994. The popularity of the game is accruable form the features and the high level of user attention of engagement needed to ensure that the player or user is successful. The video game has been considered as one of the most addictive video games in the world because of the high level of user attention to ensure adequate user engagement in the various tasks in the video game. World of Warcraft was developed in that it enables the users to assume characters with the ability to increase their skills in warfare and individual abilities. Such abilities are accruable after the completion of the various tasks or quests, which are the highlight of the video game and its features (Carmichael, 2012).

The popularity of the video game varies from region to another because of numerous factors such as politics, economical factors and the societal values of a given area or region.  Political forces are evident in the Middle East as well as in Asia in terms of embracing goods, which are considered as popular in the western and European countries. This is because of the varied ideals by governments and political factors in terms of allowance of entry and use of specific goods, which belong to other countries that could be considered as hostile. The Chinese government made impositions on the video game in an effort to promote what it described as the need to enhance and promote healthy gaming practices (Carmichael, 2012).

The need to promote healthy gaming practices is a position, which has been assumed widely around the world and especially in the Middle East countries.  This is because of the conceived notion that the west is a source of corruptive material. Such products usually receive low recognition as they are considered as contraventions of the cultural norms and values of the Islamic society and its overall values. Evaluated literature indicates that World of Warcraft is highly regarded amongst the American population, Europe and other western nations. However, the reception in the Middle East in countries such as Iran is wanting. This is because the products were banned from launching in Iran because of the existent political hostilities between Iran and the United States of America. This is because the notion behind (Philips, 2012).

Such objections and restrictions are based on the view that the games are based on excessive violence and superstitions, which are contrary to the Islamic values and beliefs in the Middle East states.  The varying receptions of the World of Warcraft in the United States and the Middle East are intertwined to the religious differences and cultural values assumed by the two societies. The popularity of the video game in the United States is based on the visual capabilities and features of the game. This is a strong aspect of the product by Blizzard entertainment because it enhances the consumer experiences.

However, hen compared to other regions in the world, the Middle East has not been a favorite market for gaming products because of the deep-rooted cultural values and beliefs upheld by the Islamic society. In addition, issues of security have also been determinants of the popularity of the video games in the Middle East. Security issues were lodged by users around the world in terms of ability to access the video game via online portals as well as the presence of malicious software aimed at stealing private information (Info Security, 2012). The susceptibility of online gaming products to loss of information through hacking and malicious software are among the main worries for countries in the middle eats. This is because of the existent political conditions such as tensions between states in the Middle East. Hence, such games could lead to loss of vital national security information to hostile neighbors.

The western states have been considered or regarded as sources of corruption of the values of Muslims and their beliefs through their various products, which are at times a mockery of the values, and beliefs of Muslims as they encourage superstition. The World of Warcraft is gaining acceptance in markets such as Asia irrespective of the wide spread resistance Middle East because of the notion that it does not constitute of the moral and ethical standards of the Islamic society.

In addition, superstitions are also detrimental as they lead to deviations from initial beliefs in a specific religion such as Islam. In addition, the ability of users through their charters in the video game to kill others in the video games is in contradiction to the values of Islam. This is because it is considered, as death should be only a means of achievement of revenge against the non-believers. The diversity of the various regions such as the United States and the Middle East leads to the varied receptions of the video game. This is because of the traditions and cultural values of such areas (Philips, 2012).

In addition, the aspect of globalization is also a factor, which has enabled increased wide acceptance of the video gain the various regions around the world such as Asia, Europe, South America and parts of Africa. This is because of the existent of identical beliefs and values toward various issues such as superstitions. In essence trends around the world and aspects of interactions determine the acceptance if products such as video games due to the existent misconceptions about another religion or culture. Its popularity is determined by a region’s cultural, sociopolitical and economic factors and values.


Carmichael, S. (2012). “Blizzard faces class action lawsuit, plans to fight back” GameZone. Retrieved from http://www.gamezone.com/products/world-of-warcraft-mists-of-pandaria/news/blizzard-faces-class-action-lawsuit-plans-to-fight-back on 13th November 2012.

Philips, J. (2012). “World of WarCraft blocked in Iran” The Epoch Times. Retrieved from http://www.theepochtimes.com/n2/world/world-of-warcraft-blocked-in-iran-285049.html on 13 November 2012.

Info Security. (2012). World of WarCraft maker hit with lawsuit over data breach and authentication. Retrieved from http://www.infosecurity-magazine.com/view/29282/world-of-warcraft-maker-hit-with-lawsuit-over-data-breach-authentication on 13th november 2012.

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