The Chinese government has banned PUBG and Fortnite in the country. These are two of the nine games which failed an Online Ethics Review Committee review. The Committee reviewed a total of twenty games for the first batch. It ended up directing eleven games to take corrective action. The remaining nine games failed the test entirely and received a ban.
The twenty games mostly included titles more popular in the Chinese region than in the west. However, there are some big names in these games such as League of Legends, Overwatch, PUBG and Fortnite. There is also a mention for World of Warcraft, Diablo and others.
Why is there a need to ban these games?
Recently there has been a rise in concern of young Chinese children playing games not regulated in China. As such games like Overwatch, PUBG, Dust 2 were having a free reign and not explicitly under the control fo the Chinese government. Not only was this detrimental to the Chinese community, but also unfair to Chinese game developers.
With a view to ensuring the right values and ethics in the games available in China, the government set up a committee. This committee was tasked with reviewing multiple game titles available in the Chinese Mainland. And the committee recommended corrective action for eleven titles while nine would receive outright bans. The status of these bans is still unclear. The games might make a comeback when they alter certain graphics and the game’s chats. However, there is no confirmation on the same and it might be an outright ban for these games.
There is a vivid lack of clarity on reasons for banning certain games. While Paladins and Fortnite, which have a cartoonish feel to their visuals were banned altogether the same is not true for all games. Overwatch received a warning and Blizzard needs to take corrective action very soon. Otherwise, their game could also end up receiving a ban in China
The Chinese Market is too important to let go.
There is no doubt that for any game company, China is the ultimate market. It might not be the market where they have the highest revenues, but the numbers speak for themselves. Over time, we have seen the Chinese community invest millions of dollars into games that they love such as Dota 2 and League of Legends. Replicating their success on other games will be a tough challenge, especially with China adopting a hard-stance on games and their design.
Recently Valve opened a Chinese Steam Store which will grant Perfect World [ and in turn the Chinese government ] control over the availability of games on the store.