China pulled a very stunning move this week by suggesting banning nine different games in their country, including popular titles Fortnite and PUBG. The word originally got out from a Reddit post, which has ordered that nine games should be immediately prohibited from being played and are being ordered off of the Chinese marketplace, which aside from the two mentioned above includes H1Z1, Alliance of Valiant Arms, Ring of Elysium, Paladins, Free Fire Battlegrounds, Knives Out, and Quantum Matrix. On top of all that, eleven more have been recommended for “corrective action”, meaning the government would requite certain aspects of their games changed or censored to continue being sold in China. That list includes games like Overwatch, League of Legends, Diablo, and World of Warcraft.
If you look over the list, you’ll see that aside from citing blood and gore, as well as “revealing female characters” as their reasoning, the majority of this list of games were made in the west. Several posters have made note of this and believe the crackdown has more to do with pushing western influence and ideals out of their popular culture more than it has to do with the actual game content. Especially when more than a few have “incorrect values” listed as a reason. This is apparently the first batch of several games the government has asked their country’s gaming forum NGA to look into, so it’s quite possible more are on the way. So far, Hi-Rez Studios is the only company to officially comment on the ban to PCGamesN.
“Tencent manages Paladins in China, including full operation of the game and all interface with the government in regards to the game. At this time Hi-Rez can neither confirm nor deny reports regarding a government ban, and can offer no insights on corrective action.”
If this ban does go into effect, and there are more on the way, you can probably say goodbye to a good chunk of the Chinese esports market moving forward. But the greater concern for Chinese players is whether or not companies will want to invest money releasing certain games in their country moving forward. China is a huge market, and while a company like Epic Games probably won’t get burned like others, that’s still a good chunk of money spent on investing in servers, translations, competitions, marketing, etc., all down the tube and probably few ways to recoup it if their game is banned. Now imagine that same burden put on smaller studios who invested in Chinese publishing.