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Iranian Authorities Criticize ‘Hamster Kombat’ Blockchain Game as a Form of Western Soft Power

ByDayne Lee

Jun 26, 2024

Iranian Authorities Criticize ‘Hamster Kombat’ Blockchain Game as a Form of Western Soft Power

The blockchain game ‘Hamster Kombat,’ part of the burgeoning play-to-earn gaming sector, has recently become a focal point of controversy in Iran. Iranian military and religious leaders have sharply criticized the game, alleging it serves as a tool of Western soft power designed to distract the population ahead of significant political events.

Specific Allegations by Iranian Leaders

Deputy chief of the Iranian military, Habibollah Sayyari, has explicitly linked the timing of the game’s popularity with the upcoming Iranian elections, suggesting it aims to divert public attention from political engagement. Meanwhile, religious authority Ayatollah Nasser Makarem Shirazi has condemned the broader field of cryptocurrencies and blockchain games like ‘Hamster Kombat’ as fraught with fraud.

These criticisms overlook the broader economic hardships faced by many Iranians, exacerbated by Western sanctions and rampant inflation. Currently, the exchange rate has plummeted to 1 U.S. dollar to 580,000 Iranian rial, highlighting the severe economic strain.

Blockchain Games as Economic Opportunities

In developing countries, blockchain games have emerged as potential economic lifelines:

  • Example of Axie Infinity: This NFT-based game has proven to be a significant income source for players in similar economic situations, with some earning up to $1,300 per month.
  • Role of Gaming Guilds: These organizations have helped players in developing countries access blockchain games, mitigating initial costs and sharing profits among members.

Despite the potential benefits, blockchain gaming still faces challenges in gaining mainstream acceptance:

  • Market Awareness: A OnePoll survey indicated that 52% of respondents were unaware of blockchain gaming, and another 32% knew about it but had never participated.
  • Challenges for Mainstream Adoption: The survey results reflect the broader challenges facing play-to-earn games, such as the real utility of tokens and the need for gameplay quality that can compete with traditional console and PC games.
DescriptionPercentage (%)
Unaware of blockchain gaming52
Aware but have never played32
Actively participating in such games16

The concept of soft power, involving the use of cultural influence rather than coercion, is crucial in understanding the accusations against ‘Hamster Kombat.’ Iranian officials posit that Western countries might use such games to subtly influence or distract their populations during politically sensitive periods.

The debate over ‘Hamster Kombat’ in Iran reflects broader global tensions surrounding the intersection of technology, culture, and geopolitics. While blockchain games offer economic opportunities, particularly in regions suffering from financial instability, they also raise significant concerns about cultural influence and the potential for exploitation under the guise of entertainment.

Featured image credit: fullvector via Freepik

Dayne Lee

With a foundation in financial day trading, I transitioned to my current role as an editor, where I prioritize accuracy and reader engagement in our content. I excel in collaborating with writers to ensure top-quality news coverage. This shift from finance to journalism has been both challenging and rewarding, driving my commitment to editorial excellence.

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