Turkey Investigating Minecraft Over Claims That It's Too Violent

[UPDATE] Microsoft issues statement; read the full message here.

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[UPDATE] Following the publication of this story, a Microsoft representative provided a statement on the matter to GameSpot. You can read the full message below.

“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.”

The original story is below.

Given its popularity and appeal with children, not to mention its E-for-Everyone rating in the United States, Minecraft is one of the last video games you'd expect would be facing scrutiny over depictions of violence. However, that's exactly what's happening now.

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Turkish website Haberturk reports this week that the country's family and policies minister, Aysenur Islam, expressed concerns recently that Minecraft might be too violent. As detailed by Newsweek, a reporter suggested during a recent news conference that the open-ended sandbox game could promote aggression, and said it features depictions of violence against women.

“[We] will examine the game and see if there is an element of violence,” Islam said in response. She added that Turkey's investigation could result in a nationwide Minecraft ban.

Islam did not provide any further details regarding the country's investigation into Minecraft.

Being a sandbox game with no real set of "rules," Minecraft players are free to essentially do whatever they like inside the world. This is part of the game's appeal and an element that has fuelled its immense popularity. This freedom offered to players might explain why the some see Minecraft as a game that could promote violence.

However, Minecraft is also frequently cited for its educational value. In fact, a special version of the game, MinecraftEdu, is used in schools across the country.

Censorship measures in Turkey have increased of late, Newsweek notes. Examples include the Turkish army banning Game of Thrones from being shown in military schools, as well as general steps taken to restrict some content on platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.

The Minecraft series was created by Swedish developer Mojang, which recently sold the franchise to Microsoft for $2.5 billion. GameSpot has followed up with Microsoft, asking for comment regarding this report.

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