Word is spreading this week that Maroc Telecom, one of the largest Internet service providers in Morocco, has blocked access to Steam and many online games as it tightens its existing ban on VoIP (voice over IP) traffic.
The extent of the problem is yet unclear; multiple NeoGAF and Reddit users claim to be affected, though today Maroc Telecom took to Twitter to deny (in Arabic and French) that it had restricted access to online games.
Notably, for anyone outside of Morocco this outcry shines a light on the state of the African nation’s access to online games and technologies.
Back in January, Morocco’s largest ISPs (including Maroc Telecom) complied with a directive from the country’s telecommunications regulatory agency to block access to some free VoIP services, including Skype and WhatsApp, on the grounds they were operating without the proper licenses.
This week Maroc Telecom added a few more free online VoIP services to its “banned” list, and that’s when many people started complaining about being unable to access servers for games like Dota 2 and Paladins.
Intriguingly, one NeoGAF user documented tests in which they were able to ping Dota 2servers directly but were immediately kicked from any Dota 2 games they managed to get into, leading them to hypothesize that the game client’s voice chat protocols are triggering Maroc Telecom to block or degrade the game’s online traffic enough to render it unplayable.
Gamasutra has reached out to Maroc Telecom representatives for further comment on the subject.
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