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Is it legal for me to bring a Steam Deck into Saudi Arabia? I am travelling there for work and am unsure if it is allowed. Does it depend on the games that are on it (some would be rated 18 in the UK)?

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  • For your own use, or to sell?
    – Midavalo
    Commented Jun 14 at 20:41
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    This question cannot be answered unless you explicitly list the games in question. A "game console" is nothing, it would be like asking "Can I bring a book shelf in to Saudi Arabia", obviously the issue is what are the books.
    – Fattie
    Commented Jun 15 at 15:01
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    potentially outdated information: i Lived in Jeddah in the late 80s to mid 90s - computers were to be turned on in customs and any contraband (like Leisure Suit Larry) was deleted. video tapes were also scanned for explicit material. I do not know if they have eased up on the restrictions, and I am unaware if there is some Great Arabian Firewall in place today - I lived there Pre-internet, so in theory you could uninstall the app you were in doubt about and reinstall it post-arrival
    – JoSSte
    Commented Jun 15 at 18:18
  • @Fattie not really, there are religions which ban all TV or all music, or electricity for all uses.
    – Boat
    Commented Jun 17 at 13:47
  • Cheers @Boat - this actual question (on this page) is the guy asking about bringing certain games and devices in to Saudi Arabia, today in 2024. (It is not a question about other countries, other religious areas, other media, other years.)
    – Fattie
    Commented Jun 17 at 14:05

3 Answers 3

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The console itself should be fine, the content downloaded on it maybe not so much. Same with your ebook reader and laptop.

Do NOT try to import any content that the Saudi authorities would consider (for example) pornographic or religious content (unless it’s religious content related to the exact version of Islam practiced in Saudi Arabia) or otherwise illegal.

That’s no different from a lot of other countries. E.g. when I traveled to Uzbekistan we were warned explicitly to NOT bring in ANYthing religious, as the country bans any and all displays of religion and especially distributing it (including Islamic, and it too is a Muslim nation).

Will they bother checking the entire content of your devices on the border? Probably not unless you give them reason to. BUT if they do check (then or later) and find anything illegal in the country you’re in BIG trouble.

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It's fine. Approximately everybody has a games console in Saudi, because before MBS started shaking things up your choices of entertainment were going to the mosque or playing GTA. (I'm exaggerating, but at least among the people I worked with in Saudi, this was pretty much the case.)

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  • This does not answer the question. The question is whether it is legal, which perhaps is off topic anyway.
    – Buck Thorn
    Commented Jun 16 at 6:58
  • @BuckThorn Bringing the console is completely legal. The Iegality of individual games may vary, but in practice, nobody cares. Commented Jun 16 at 21:44
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A Saudi here, do not believe the other answers which seem heavily influenced by CNN, Hollywood and other western media.

Bring your console and all your games, no one cares, in fact, whatever games you have on your console would be available in Saudi.

Saudis and Saudi Arabia in general are not what you see on media, or not what senior members of this respectful platform think it is. A quick search on any social medial platform for real people who live here would reveal the true Saudi, just avoid western media and site members who seek votes and perhaps vegetarians and you will get the true image of Saudi, which is fantastic and beyond your imagination.

Finally, Steam Deck is available in the Saudi market, you can check Amazon.sa, if it is available there it means it is allowed.

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    :D "and perhaps vegetarians" +1
    – Steve
    Commented Jun 15 at 18:23
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    This doesn't really answer the question "Is it legal for me to bring a Steam Deck into Saudi Arabia? ". Assume it is illegal but mostly not enforced (because it would be impractical). Fine. That's prob true in most of the world, provided the content is not snuff etc, but most importantly, if you don't make trouble. Authorities go after trouble makers, political or in the media mostly (Kashoggis and the like), and small ones if they feel the need to set an example. And most people are nice provided you don't offend their core beliefs.
    – Buck Thorn
    Commented Jun 16 at 6:55
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    good to hear that there are changes, and that my perceptions are probably outdated. So how far do the changes go? Are hookups nowadays fine? What about erotic material? And can I get cold beer? Is all of this legal, or only tolerated?
    – lalala
    Commented Jun 16 at 16:06
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    "not what senior members of this respectful platform think it is." says the senior member with 98k rep. Now you're just creating confusion /s
    – Peter M
    Commented Jun 16 at 19:25
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    What do vegetarians have to do with Saudi Arabia? Except insofar as there are a few vegetarian restaurants there, as in most countries, I don't see the connection.
    – Obie 2.0
    Commented Jun 17 at 9:42

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