China May Ban Fortnite, PUBG Following Ethics Committee Review (RUMOR)
After nearly eight months of government blockades, China may be ending its game licensing hiatus. The nation established a new review body to examine ethical issues in games called the Online Games Ethics Committee. Unfortunately, that means that some games may be seeing their last days under the Communist Party’s rule.
According to the South China Morning Post, the OGEC has evaluated its first 20 games, most of which are already playable in China. The Post could not verify which titles went under the microscope, but some Chinese gamers claim to know. Players listed the games on Chinese gaming site NGA, and NicheGamer found a translation on Reddit. Below are the reported games, the stated issues, and recommended course of action.
- Arena of Valor: Overly revealing female characters, rewards given based on rank, distorted concepts of history and culture
- League of Legends: Overly revealing female characters, rewards given based on rank, inharmonious chatroom
- Blade & Soul: Overly revealing female characters, inharmonious chatroom
- Chu Liu Xiang: Overly revealing female characters, inharmonious chatroom, game missions include fraud
- Overwatch: Game visuals promote incorrect values, inharmonious chatroom
- Diablo: Inharmonious chat, game missions include fraud
- World of Warcraft: Overly revealing female characters, inharmonious chatroom
- Westward Journey: Overly revealing female characters, inharmonious chatroom, distorted concepts of history and culture
- Code: Eva: Rewards given based on rank, distorted concepts of history and culture
- The Legend of Mir 3: Inharmonious chatroom
- Swords of Legends Online: Inharmonious chatroom
- PlayerUnknown’s Battleground: Blood and gore
- Fortnite: Blood and gore, vulgar content
- H1Z1: Blood and gore, vulgar content
- Alliance of Valiant Arms: Blood and gore, vulgar content
- Ring of Elysium: Blood and gore, vulgar content
- Paladins: Overly revealing female characters, blood and gore, vulgar content
- Free Fire Battlegrounds: Overly revealing female characters, blood and gore, vulgar content
- Knives Out: Overly revealing female characters, blood and gore, vulgar content
- Quantum Matrix: Blood and gore, vulgar content, inharmonious chat
Blizzard has denied receiving any notifications from China about the ruling as of this writing. Therefore, this entire list could be a simple internet rumor. However, if it’s not, check out that list again: PUBG and Fortnite could be banned in China. Take a moment to imagine 23 million PUBG accounts suddenly vanishing.
If this list is accurate—remember, it’s still only a rumor—China is taking a major shot at game developers. League of Legends, WoW, PUBG, and Fortnite rake in absurd amounts of cash from Chinese gamers. Furthermore, Tencent, China’s largest gaming company, has direct financial ties to Blizzard, PUBG, and Fortnite. Tencent has already lost billions from the country’s licensing embargo, which included a fiasco surrounding Monster Hunter: World. The country is essentially telling publishers and devs to follow the Party’s rules or look elsewhere for revenue.
On this flip side of the coin, this does prove that China is willing to publish new games. If they didn’t want new titles coming in, they wouldn’t have set up the ethics committee at all. Yes, players will only receive a limited number of titles that fit the Communist Party’s subjective criteria. (The government has a similar policy regarding foreign movies.) But having some new games is better than having no games, and at least China is abandoning the Myopia Defense. Sometimes you have to take what you can get.
Of course, this move is about power and control rather than money. While gamers in other countries would revolt at these new standards, China’s history with video games complicates the matter. For example, the government banned consoles until 2014. Players in the U.S. and elsewhere have never had to deal with that sort of blanket ban. I’m confident in saying that I would be overjoyed to see a new title after nearly a year without one. Even a few games trickling into the country should help keep players content, which is what the Chinese government truly wants. After all, it’s much easier to keep power with harmonious gamers.
What do you think of China’s new review board? If the game list is correct, do you think their rulings are fair? How would you react to nine months without new games? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below! And for more gaming news and updates, be sure to follow DFTG on Facebook and Twitter.
Drew Weissman230 Posts
Drew is a freelance writer for DFTG. He's the former Managing Editor of Haogamers and has been published in the Chicago Tribune and The Paragon Journal. He also edited the novel Three Brightnesses and Artist Journey: Rachta Lin (2016 and 2017 editions).