Iranian Government Calls Hamster Kombat a Soft Power Weapon


A seemingly innocuous play-to-earn game called “Hamster Kombat” has become an unexpected battleground in Iran. The simple tap game, where players earn rewards in cryptocurrency, has drawn sharp criticism from government officials and religious hardliners. These critics denounce the game as a tool of Western “soft power,” designed to distract the Iranian population from upcoming elections.

Habibollah Sayyari, the deputy chief of the Iranian military, spearheaded the criticism. He claims the game is a ploy to divert public attention away from the country’s crucial elections. This sentiment was echoed by religious leader Ayatollah Nasser Makarem Shirazi, who further disparaged the entire cryptocurrency landscape as inherently fraudulent.

However, these criticisms fail to acknowledge the harsh economic realities faced by many Iranians. Crippling Western sanctions and high inflation have created significant financial hardship. The current exchange rate, with 1 U.S. dollar equating to a staggering 580,000 Iranian rial, paints a grim picture.

These conditions have fueled the rise of blockchain games, particularly in developing nations. Games like Axie Infinity exemplify this trend. At its peak, players reported earning upwards of $1,300 per month, a substantial income source in such economies.

While Axie Infinity initially had a higher entry barrier, the emergence of organized gaming guilds offered solutions. These guilds allowed players in developing countries to offset the costs of playing Axie and other blockchain games, enabling them to share in the potential profits.

Despite its growing popularity in developing regions, blockchain gaming remains a niche market compared to traditional video games. A recent OnePoll survey revealed that over half (52%) of respondents had never even heard of blockchain gaming. Another 32% were aware of the concept but hadn’t played themselves.

These numbers highlight both a potentially massive untapped market and the challenges blockchain games need to overcome. Issues like unclear real-world utility for tokens and a lack of compelling gameplay mechanics compared to established console and PC titles hinder mainstream adoption.

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Author: Sb

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