Epic Games plans to pull the plug on Fortnite in China, reacting to the government's hard line stance on gaming. Let's find out why Fortnite and gaming are banned in China.
In a rather surprising move, Epic Game has announced that Fortnite will no longer be available in China come November 11. The battle royale is popping off in pretty much every region, from NA West to the Middle East. However, what is the deal in China?
If you have not been following world news, then you may have missed that China's government is cracking down on tech companies and that means gaming companies too. When you think of cracking down, you may think of some kind of economic regulations or taxation, but you would sadly be wrong. China is way more hardcore than that, they really don't mess around. China has literally banned gaming for children except on the weekends.
Why Did China Ban Fortnite & Gaming?
China is not literally banning Fortnite, but China has banned gaming in general. In August of this year, China announced that it would regulate how much time children could play video games. The new regulation specifically targets online gaming and children under 18 years old who can now only play on Fridays, weekends, and holidays for one hour a day!
One does not simply play video games for one hour! F's in chat for Chinese gamers and the game devs, who have just been massively hamstrung in their own local market.
The Chinese government believes that online gaming is a "spiritual opium" for children. Not my first choice of words to describe online gaming addictions, but if you wanted to scare parents, then this plays well. No one can deny gaming can be addictive, but this really makes it seem like gaming is evil, and comparing it to a hard drug is a false premise. Is it so bad that kids have fun?
Even before the general gaming ban, games in China must conform to strict media censorship and cannot be violent, pornographic, or paint the country in a negative light. For example, no blood can be shown in any game, so game devs often avoided this by making enemies explode into green goo, or like in Fortnite, dissipate into particles when killed.
However, the story goes a little deeper, as Epic Games only ever intended Fortnite in China to be a two-year test, and apparently, the region has failed hard.
Epic Games have not made any comments as to why they are shutting down Chinese Fortnite, but Epic did have this to say,
"Thank you to all the Fortnite China players who have ridden the Battle Bus with us by participating in the Beta."
Most betas I've played in don't end in the game being removed from your region!