Why Pokemon Go is Banned in Saudi Arabia?

Pokemon Go is something innovative game that broke common gaming stereotypes by introducing augmented reality and gaming content inspired by fabricated religious beliefs. Hence it popped up on the radar of many countries’ religious and concerned departments.

Saudi Arabia is first in the line to restrict Pokemon and then many countries followed the same.

Reasons Pokemon Banned in Saudi Arabia

It is banned in many Muslim countries like Saudi Arabia because,

  • It is potentially associated with idol worship which is strictly forbidden in Islam.
  • Gambling line gaming content.
  • Culturally conflicting with Saudi values.
  • Concerns about Pokémon’s impact on the beliefs and safety of the youth.
  • To block foreign tech influence.

In the past, Saudi Arabia decided to ban Pokémon due to religious and cultural concerns. The ban was primarily focused on the belief that the franchise promotes elements that are contrary to Islamic values. Some religious leaders expressed concern about the creatures being portrayed as deities or supernatural beings, which could potentially lead to associations with idolatry, a practice strictly prohibited in Islam.

Furthermore, there were also concerns about the origin of the game in Japan, a country with a different cultural background. Some Saudi officials felt that Pokémon might reflect Japanese spirituality and mythology, which might be incompatible with Saudi Arabian culture and religious beliefs.

The ban on Pokémon in Saudi Arabia sparked debate about the influence of foreign media and the protection of cultural and religious values. The government’s decision highlights the importance of maintaining Saudi Arabia’s traditions while controlling the influx of international media and entertainment.

Recent relaxation in strict Ban imposition

In recent years, attitudes towards entertainment and cultural influences have evolved in Saudi Arabia. The country is working on modernizing and diversifying its entertainment industry as part of its Vision 2030 initiative. This change in approach has led to the reopening of cinemas, the introduction of concerts and public entertainment events, and a more lenient attitude towards some forms of previously banned material.

In 2021, it was reported that the Saudi General Entertainment Authority (GEA) signed a memorandum of understanding with The Pokémon Company to host events and launch merchandise related to the Pokémon franchise in the country. This marked a significant change in the country’s attitude towards Pokémon, indicating a gradual easing of the previous ban.

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