Earlier this week, publisher 2K released the map below to detail the exact launch time for players around the globe eagerly awaiting Civilization VI. You can pre-order the game and start to download it right now, but it won’t unlock until this Friday the 21st. In the meantime, you can learn more about Civilization VI here on the Gamepedia Civ 6 Wiki.
When looking at the map, you’ll notice that there are a few places where players with dreams of world conquest will be unable to test their skills and attempt to build a civilization that can stand the test of time. I wanted to find out why these blackouts existed, and some of the reasons might surprise you!
1. North Korea
It's probably no surprise that Civilization VI won’t be sold in North Korea. This small dictatorial nation regularly makes headlines for their military posturing and is the subject of many international sanctions. Among those is a prohibition on licensed software, including video games. However, even if it could be legally sold, Internet access is hard to come by in North Korea. It is estimated that only a thousand or so government elites have access to the Internet, and I’d wager that downloading games is probably not considered an acceptable use even for these lucky few.
Modern day North Korea would have been part of the Kingdom ruled by Civilization V leader Sejong, but if you’re interested in playing as Glorious Leader Kim Jong-un, there’s a mod for Civilization V that will allow you to live your dream!
Formerly part of The Kingdom of Serbia, Kosovo declared its independence in 2008 following a violent conflict in the region. I was unable to uncover what might lead to Civilization being unavailable in this country (recognized by 109 of 193 UN Member States). The US enjoys good diplomatic relationships with Kosovo, having an embassy in the Kosovar capital of Pristina. I know there must be a good reason for their exclusion, but I wasn't able to discover it in my research.
Edit: Gamepedia User bbchicken7 wrote in with some additional information: "As a Kosovo-Albanian myself, I know from experience that Kosovo IP addresses are actually incredibly rare in Kosovo presumably due to it being a partially recognized territory and not a fully sovereign country. As a result, Kosovans tend to use either Albanian IPs or Serbian IPs(same with dial codes), not the Kosovo IP. What this ultimately means is that Civ 6 IS available in Kosovo due to Steam treating Kosovans as Albanian/Serbian, although it is not available to the Kosovo IP." -- Thanks for the additional thoughts!
Located in central Africa, Sudan is now comprised of two separate nations, The Republic of the Sudan and The Republic of South Sudan. The US government established sanctions on Sudan in 2007 as a result of the war in Darfur. While South Sudan is not subject to these sanctions after its secession, the Republic of Sudan is still affected. I wasn't able to uncover any specific reason why video games would be included, but as far as I can tell, Sudanese fans won’t be able to play any time soon.
While Iran has not been featured in Civilization specifically, it would be part of the Persian Empire led by Darius II in Civilization V. While residents of Iran largely are able to access the Internet, which has a penetration rate of more than 65%, gamers living there are unable to access major software distribution sites like Steam. In fact, it is only very recently that credit cards have become available in Iran, so even with access to those digital marketplaces it might be difficult to purchase software online. Despite that, with the relaxation of sanctions in recent months, it's possible that things might loosen up soon!
5. East Timor
East Timor, also known as Timor-Leste, is probably the most mysterious of the countries on the list. This nation was the first new sovereign state to emerge in the 21st century following its separation from Indonesia in 2002. Despite spending some time researching East Timorese-US relations, I wasn't able to find any reason why residents wouldn’t be able to buy video games or other software.
6. Myanmar (Burma)
Of all the countries on our list, Myanmar (also known as Burma), seems to be in the best place in terms of getting its hands on the game. While the US government had active sanctions against Burma since 1997, sanctions were eased in 2012. However, President Obama announced on September 15th of this year that all sanctions were being lifted. Hopefully this means that the people of Myanmar will soon be free to rise up and taste the glory that is a Civilization victory soon.
Cuba is an island located just 90 miles off the coast of Florida. Famous for its flavorful cigars, among other things, Cuba has been the subject of strict sanctions since JFK signed the embargo in 1962 (famously buying as many cigars as he could first). Up until very recently, the embargo was still in full force, but President Obama has been working to normalize relationships with this nearby nation and has lifted restrictions on cigars and rum just this past week. So, if any of our Cuban fans are reading, hopefully this means that Civilization VI may be in your near future as the embargo continues to be eased!
So, unless you live in one of the countries listed above, and a few additional ones that didn't make the list, you’ll be able to play Civilization VI as soon as it releases on Friday. If you’ve already pre-ordered the game, you can pre-load it on Steam already to be ready for the action at launch. To learn the in’s and out’s of the latest installment in this classic franchise, visit the Civilization 6 Wiki on Gamepedia!
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Editor’s note: Gamepedia does not purport to be an expert on US and International sanctions. The information included is the article is based on writer research, and it may not be accurate.
Benjamin manages all of the non-wiki content on Gamepedia as well as taking care of community-related concerns and relationships with indie partners. In his spare time he is an avid reader and gamer, and has freakishly flexible thumbs.