Yesterday, Bleeding Cool told you about the new Overwatch comic featuring the popular video game series’ first openly gay character. We won’t spoil it here, but you can read the previous article if you want to know who it is. Unfortunately, there were reports that the comic wasn’t available in Russia, due to anti-gay laws in the country so heterosexual its leader poses for topless horseback photos. We think all Overwatch players should be able to read this comic, so we decided to investigate. Using a VPN to change our internet location to Moscow, we tried the Overwatch comic site (after first verifying that our IP address was Russian and that we were automatically redirected to the Russian version of Google if we tried to visit Google.com), and while it the site did load, we were greeted with the following message when attempting to view the comic in the Russian language:
В соответствии с российским законодательством мы не можем поделиться этим комиксом с нашими игроками на территории Российской Федерации.
According to Google, that translates to:
In accordance with Russian legislation, we can not share this comic with our players in the Russian Federation.
However, we discovered that this seems to only apply to the Russian version of the comic. Changing the language to any of the other options, including English (US), Spanish (AL), Portuguese (AL), German, English (EU), Spanish (EU), French, Italian, Polish, Japanese, Korean, or Taiwanese, will allow you to read it (provided you can read one of those languages). Google tells us that 30% of Russians can speak English, and we imagine more must speak some of those others. Here’s how you can change the langauge, in case it’s not obvious:
Click the Russian language button in the lower right corner of the screen:
Select the language you’d like to read the comic in, like English…
And the comic should open up as normal in the language of your choice.
While the lack of geo-ip based filtering is what enables this easy workaround, unfortunately, that means that the Russian version is also not available if you’re visiting the site from another country, meaning gamers in Russia can’t simply use the VPN trick we did to read the comic in Russian.
While the ideal situation would be Russia not preventing Blizzard from delivering this comic to Russians in their native language based on hate-fueled legislation, at least Overwatch players with the skills to read the comic in another language are able to do so for the time being.