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Turkey’s Family and Social Policies Ministry has come to a surprising verdict: Minecraft encourages children to act violently (Yes, you read that correctly). But Mojang doesn't sound worried.
The country is calling on authorities to ban the block-building game after publishing the result of a probe launched in February.
Here's a snippet from the report (via BBC News):
Although the game can be seen as encouraging creativity in children by letting them build houses, farmlands and bridges, mobs [hostile creatures] must be killed in order to protect these structures. In short, the game is based on violence.
However, according to Fatih Oke, the Turkish Embassy Press Counselor in Washington, D.C., Minecraft won't find its way onto any black lists. In an interview with the Christian Science Monitor, Oke said the Family and Social Policies Ministry has no control over social policies. Its only role is to "raise awareness."
Here's how she explains it:
A ban is quite out of the question. There will be no ban. The game is not banned and is not going to be banned, the Family and Social Policy Ministry does not have that kind of authority to ban any product. I understand that this is what has been said in the Turkish media, but it is incorrect.
Minecraft is one of the most popular games in history. In fact, it's so prominent that Microsoft purchased the game's developer for $2.5 billion last year. Until this week, not a single country has threatened to ban Minecraft, which is actually impressive when you remember that it recently passed 100 million registered users.
Mojang doesn't appear to be concerned about the situation. In a statement to GamesBeat, a spokesperson brushed the allegations aside:
Minecraft is enjoyed by many players in a wide variety of ways. Many enjoy the creative freedom that’s presented by Minecraft and its tools, some are more interested by the opportunity to explore a landscape without boundaries and to go on exciting adventures with friends. We encourage players to cooperate in order to succeed, whether they’re building, exploring, or adventuring. The world of Minecraft can be a dangerous place: it’s inhabited by scary, genderless monsters that come out at night. It might be necessary to defend against them to survive. If people find this level of fantasy conflict upsetting, we would encourage them to play in Creative Mode, or to enable the Peaceful setting. Both of these options will prevent monsters from appearing in the world.
Turkey doesn't usually ban video games, but the country isn't exactly friendly to free speech. They recently banned Twitter, YouTube, and 4Chan, and in 2013, Turkey jailed more journalists than any other country in the world (for the second year in a row).
If this were a free speech battle, Minecraft might be in trouble. But it's about whacking hostile blocks with a pixilated sword. So, everything will probably stay exactly the same.