Turkey’s Family and Social Policies Ministry on Tuesday called for a national ban on the popular videogame "Minecraft," claiming that it encourages violence among children.
“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,” the government report read, according to Hurriyet Daily News.
The report also said that the game may lead to children being unable to tell the game world apart from the real one, leading to violent behavior including torture of animals and “social isolation.”
"Minecraft," one of the most popular games in the world, was sold by developer Mojang to Microsoft for $2.5 billion last year. If successful, Turkey would be the first country in the world to ban "Minecraft."
“'Minecraft' is enjoyed by many players in a wide variety of ways,” a Mojang representative told GamesBeat. “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.”
The Family Ministry had launched the probe into the game last week on allegations that it encouraged violence against women, and awarded players points for engaging in violence, Newsweek reported. “[We] will examine the game and see if there is an element of violence,” Family and Social Policies Minister Aysenur Islam reportedly said. Turkey’s courts are expected to rule on whether to go ahead with the ban.
"Minecraft," which is rated suitable for children aged 7 and over in the U.S., is widely considered to be a less violent alternative to other mainstream games in the market, and has been praised by educators for its usefulness in learning environments. Andrew Przybylski, an experimental psychologist at Oxford University, told Newsweek: “Thinking of investigating 'Minecraft' for being violent is the equivalent of ordering an investigation into violent Lego playing.”