Is China Really Going To Ban Fortnite Among Other Games?

Yikai/19 December 2018

A widespread panic was struck when rumours spread that China’s Online Ethics Review Committee is to review online games against the country’s social and ethical rules, banning a number of highly popular games. According to this Reddit thread, the source came from users on NGA, a Chinese gaming forum.

Of the 20 popular online games reportedly included in the first batch, 11 were instructed to take corrective action to address the committee’s concerns. The other nine failed the review entirely, and are now supposedly banned in the country. Here’s the list for your viewing satisfaction. 

On The Banned List

  • Fortnite (Epic) – Blood and gore, vulgar content
  • PlayerUnknown’s Battleground (Bluehole) – Blood and gore, vulgar content
  • H1Z1 (Daybreak) – Blood and gore, vulgar content
  • Alliance of Valiant Arms (Red Duck) – Blood and gore, vulgar content
  • Ring of Elysium (Tencent)– Blood and gore, vulgar content
  • Paladins (Hi-Rez) – Overly revealing female characters, blood and gore, vulgar content
  • Free Fire Battlegrounds (Garena) – Overly revealing female characters, blood and gore, vulgar content. Prohibited/Withdraw
  • Knives Out (NetEase) – Overly revealing female characters, blood and gore, vulgar content. Prohibited/Withdraw
  • Quantum Matrix (NetEase) – Blood and gore, vulgar content, inharmonious chat

To Take Corrective Measures

  • Arena of Valor (Tencent) – Overly revealing female characters, rewards given based on rank, distorted concepts of history and culture
  • League of Legends (Riot) – Overly revealing female characters, rewards given based on rank, inharmonious chatroom
  • Blade & Soul (NCSOFT) – Overly revealing female characters, inharmonious chatroom
  • Chu Liu Xiang (NetEase) – Overly revealing female characters, inharmonious chatroom, game missions include fraud
  • Overwatch (Blizzard) – Game visuals promote incorrect values, inharmonious chatroom
  • Diablo (Blizzard) – Inharmonious chat, game missions include fraud
  • World of Warcraft (Blizzard) – Overly revealing female characters, inharmonious chatroom
  • Westward Journey (NetEase) – Overly revealing female characters, inharmonious chatroom, distorted concepts of history and culture
  • Code: Eva (Tencent) – Rewards given based on rank, distorted concepts of history and culture
  • The Legend of Mir 3 (WeMade) – Inharmonious chatroom
  • Swords of Legends Online (Aurogon) – Inharmonious chatroom

It seems that these 9 games with blood and gore are immediately on the banned list while the other 11 games have to take measures to adhere to China’s rules. 

Is this the truth or an elaborated speculation? 

“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.”
– Stew Chisam, President of Hi-Rez Studios tells PCGamesN

On Blizzard’s Weibo, it said to announce that Blizzard is denying the claim to take any actions. Up until now, there is no official statement other than the forums that state China will ban these games.

According to thepaper.cn,

“The online game ethics committee is responsible for conducting ethical evaluation of online game works and related services that may or have produced moral controversy and public opinion, providing decision-making reference for online game management departments, guiding online game companies to consciously abide by social morality and professional ethics.” 

In truth, the names of the actual 20 games have not been revealed but Tencent announced that it has no relation to any titles on the list. We also know, for sure, the Chinese government is pro esports with its latest release of guidelines for new esports athlete registration and management program. Other esports involvement includes Hangzhou’s “Esports Town”, and Shanghai’s hosting of The International 2019. 

What Will Happen If China Bans The Games?

We don’t know for sure if games like Fortnite, PUBG and Overwatch is going to be wiped out in China. But we do know that whatever the Chinese government decides will leave a huge consequence for the esports world.

Based on Newzoo data, China has the most gaming revenue at US$34,400 million. Without the Chinese players, the gaming market will take a huge hit. 

In my opinion, if China were to ban said games, what’s to stop them from banning more titles? Perhaps, the only games that’ll be left are Chinese games that the government are able to control and insert China propaganda. 

More importantly, without the involvement of Chinese players, the gaming world will financially suffer.

Less players = less demand = less revenue. 

Gaming companies will have to find ways to sustain their business so you can expect to see more pay to play games, increase prices of in-game credit, fewer tournaments hosted, etc. 

So, although the ban does not directly impact you as a gamer, there will be indirect consequences. With fewer gamers, there will be fewer demands and possibly, a decrease in tournaments. Imagine not being able to watch any esports tournament like The International (TI) for Dota 2 or The Worlds Finals for League of Legends. Oh the horrors! Are you prepared for that? I know I’m not. 

Let’s keep an eye out and start a petition if need be. 

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