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2018: Oct-Dec

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Better censored than blocked...

Chinese game censorship resumes after a 9 month break for reorganisation

Link Here31st December 2018
China has ended a nine-month freeze on the release of video games implemented whist the country's censors were being reorganised. In March China decided to replace the government censors with a new organisation answering to the ruling Communist Party's propaganda department. It is widely feared that the new organisation will be even more censorial than the previous version..

The new censor has just passed its first batch of 80 titles, the majority of which are for mobile phones.

Chinese gaming executives told the newspaper they expect it'll take officials months to clear the more than 5,000 games that need approval -- and that censorship of the games would see a significant increase.

Update: Stalled again

21st February 2019. See article from

China's game censor has stopped receiving new applications for commercial video game licences, as it hasn't yet cleared a backlog of thousands of titles from a nine-month suspension that slowed growth in the world's largest games market last year.

An executive at one of China's largest listed games companies said central officials had not accepted new applications since September, but the licensing process was being altered to make it more efficient. There is still a huge backlog to clear, the executive said.

Daniel Ahmad, an analyst at consultancy Niko Partners, estimates regulators need six months to clear about 5,000 waiting titles.



Extract: What's Sony playing at?...

Sony and Valve cancel announcements about game censorship

Link Here16th December 2018
Full story: Sony Games Censorship...Sony has taken to unilateral censorship of PS 4 games

There were supposed to be two big announcements this week regarding censorship. The first announcement was supposed to come from Valve regarding the recent ban-spree of anime games on Steam. That announcement has been postponed until further notice.

The second big announcement was relating to Sony's U.K., division that was supposed to address the current censorship policies for the PS4 that was handed down by Sony Interactive Entertainment of America's office. Well, that announcement has been delayed because the meeting for that announcement has been delayed.

...Read the full article from



A Fortnite on...

China seems to have banned Fortnite and PUBG as unethical

Link Here12th December 2018
Earlier this month, the Chinese government moved forward with its new Online Ethics Review Committee, a government censor that exists solely to review online games and determine whether or not they are acceptable according to Chinese government ethics.

The creation of the new censor was in response to government concerns that Chinese citizens were playing online games that weren't being directly regulated by China. The censor was tasked with considering twenty online games in its first round of reviews.

As a result two major video games, Fortnite and PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds , have been banned from in China altogether. Both games were big fixtures of the online multiplayer communities in China, but may not be permitted to return since they have not been designated as needing corrective action but rather appear to have been banned outright.

According to online reports , those reviews have found both Fortnite and PUBG to be in direct violation of the new online ethical rules. According to reports, these two titles were both banned for their gratuitous depictions of blood and gore.

Other titles, like League of Legends , Overwatch , and Diablo were noted as needing corrective action but are not actually banned as of yet.



The Chinese Connection...

Ubisoft tries a new tack to explain why it will be censoring Rainbow Six Siege

Link Here9th December 2018
Video game developer Ubisoft recently made the censorship news by deciding that their Rainbow Six Siege , a shooter in an environmental setting, will be unified into a single worldwide version. This meant that the game would have to be heavily censored to the standards of the lowest common denominator, China.

This caused a little bit of stink amongst fans, so Ubisoft announced a U turn for the China friendly censorship policy.

Now it seems that Unbsoft is still keen on a heavily censored version that can be played in China, but this time the company is changing tack on its reasoning. Ubisoft are now reporting that parents and consumer groups are complaining that the game has too many references to sex, many violent scenes, and allusions to gambling . It adds that parents say these issues are troubling in a game intended for teenagers.

'After listening to criticism', the company decided to make some changes to the game. It will remove some of the sexual references and violent content, and make the loot boxes easier to come by. Ubisoft is hoping the changes will be enough to satisfy the critics and make the customers happy as well. (Especially those in China).



Expelled from Steam...

Games combining indeterminate age characters, sex, and a high school setting have been banned from Steam

Link Here9th December 2018
Online games distributor Steam recently relaxed is previous prohibitions on adult gaming but it still draws the line at games it considers illegal.

Now, according to some developers, Valve, the company behind Steam, is going after games that feature themes of child exploitation, which it seems to define, at least in part, as games with sex scenes or nudity where the characters are in high school.

Over the past few weeks, the company has removed the store pages of several visual novels, including cross-dressing yaoi romance Cross Love , catholic school adult visual novel Hello Goodbye , a story about the love between siblings Imolicious , and cat girl game MaoMao Discovery Team . The developers of these games all claim to have received similar emails stating that their games could not be released on Steam.

There are a common threads that link the games in question: 1) Cross Love, Hello Goodbye, and Imolicious feature school settings, and 2) all four of the aforementioned games contain adult elements and centre around anime-styled characters who appear young -- in some cases uncomfortably so.



A few translated words...

Sony exec speaks about the company's new found enthusiasm for video game censorship

Link Here3rd December 2018
Sony president Atsushi Morita has made the first official comments about his company's new found enthusiasm for video game censorship. Posted on Japanese website, but without official translation, he purportedly told attendees at a Japan Studio event that expression restrictions [have been] adjusted to the global standards. He apparently concluded:

Considering the balance between freedom of expression and safety to children, I think that it is a difficult problem.

One video game series thats been affected by Sony's censorship  is Senran Kagura . The producer of the latest game, Kenichiro Takaki commented that the next title in the series is going to take time as it deals with these new regulations. He said:

We have to make games in a way that they aren't misunderstood. Certain things are harder than they've ever been before. Given that, I think [the game] is going to take some time.



Which bright spark thought of that?...

Winnie the Pooh is replaced by a light cloud in the Chinese release of the game Kingdom Hearts 3

Link Here3rd December 2018
Kingdom Hearts 3 is an upcoming video game that features Winnie the Pooh.

Now China's president Xi Jinping has taken offence at his gait and pot belly being likened to Pooh bear so Chinese censors have to spend hours ensuring that images of the bear are airbrushed out of Chinese life.

A Chinese website sharing images of the upcoming game revealed the game's interesting form of censorship. The iconic Winnie the Pooh is censored out with a gigantic white light.

Kingdom Hearts 3 launches January 29th, 2019.



Offsite Article: The age of censorship...

Link Here24th November 2018
Sony's Video Game Censorship Sets a Worrying Precedent

See article from



Updated: Rainbow 6 Siege...

Games developers announce will remove sex and gambling references worldwide so as to comply with Chinese censorship requirements

Link Here23rd November 2018
In order to prepare Rainbow 6 Siege for expansion into China, Ubisoft announced that it will be making some global censor cuts to the game's visuals to remove gore and references to sex and gambling.

In a blog post, Ubisoft explained:

A Single, Global Version

We want to explain why these changes are coming to the global version of the game, as opposed to branching and maintaining two parallel builds. We want to streamline our production time to increase efficiency

By maintaining a single build, we are able to reduce the duplication of work on the development side. This will allow us to be more agile as a development team, and address issues more quickly.

Ubisoft provided examples of their censorship:

  • Icons featuring knives become fists
  • Icons featuring skulls are replaced
  • Skulls in artwork are fleshed out into faces
  • Images of slot machines are removed
  • Blood spatters are removed from a Chinese landscape painting
  • Strip club neon nudity is removed

Update: Community pressure

23rd November 2018. See  article from

Earlier this month, Ubisoft Montreal informed the Rainbow Six Siege community that all versions of the competitive first-person shooter would be censored to comply with Chinese regulations .

The community, in turn, informed Ubisoft Montreal that it was extremely upset by that decision.

Now, developers say they're changing course by reverting all aesthetic changes made to the game. Ubisoft Montreal said:

We have been following the conversation with our community closely over the past couple of weeks, alongside regular discussions with our internal Ubisoft team, and we want to ensure that the experience for all our players, especially those that have been with us from the beginning, remains as true to the original artistic intent as possible.

The next update, referred to as Year Three Season Four, will see the majority of these changes returned to their original look. The Moroccan-themed expansion will also feature three new characters and a new map. It's expected to launch in early December on PlayStation 4, Windows PC, and Xbox One .



Sony breast firming...

Sony censors Dead or Alive Xtreme 3: Scarlet for PS4

Link Here20th November 2018
Koei Tecmo is the latest publisher to fall foul Sony's new found censorship. A product page for the newly announced Dead or Alive Xtreme 3: Scarlet reveals that two items will be removed from the PlayStation 4 version of the game, despite them being present in the Nintendo Switch edition.

Both the Gold Fan and Softening Gel have been cut out of the PS4 release. The golf fan allows players to blow the skirts of characters, with the objective being to turn them inside out so you can get a glimpse of their underwear. Meanwhile, the gel softens the recipient's breasts, making them more springy .

However, both of these items were included in the previous PS4 and PS Vita variants of the game, so it's clear that this is a new directive from the PlayStation maker.

The game is only available in Asian markets.



Seduced by censorship...

Sony is demanding the censorship of the sexual content of Japanese video games

Link Here27th October 2018
Senran Kagura Burst Re:Newal was recently delayed on the PlayStation 4 as Sony demanded that publisher XSEED remove a mode which effectively allows you to fondle its cast of indeterminate aged virtual characters against their will.

There's some speculation that Sony's clamping down on heavily sexualised content, especially after it refused release of bizzarro dating game Super Seducer , but many assumed that this would be limited to Western territories. However, comparison screenshots of a new Japanese visual novel which released this week in the East reveal it may be a company-wide policy. The pictures, compared to the Nintendo Switch and PC, show use of heavy censorship to obscure sexual imagery on the PS4 only. The censorship was not present in the PS Vita version, which launched a year ago.

There's also chatter that the PlayStation maker has requested jiggle physics be removed from the PS4 version of Warriors Orochi 4 , as they're present in the Nintendo Switch release but conspicuously absent from the Sony SKU. This adds evidence to the notion that Sony ia shutting down this kind of content.

Meanwhile reports that the Japanese developer light recently held a live broadcast where they confirmed Sony's new and aggressive policy against sexual themes in seemingly only Japanese-made games is actually preventing them from releasing their latest visual novel. The game, Silverio Trinity , is their latest visual novel opus -- and it has sexual themes in it. Developer light noted that Sony is getting strict with their approval process, especially regarding sexual themes.

The developer noted they were hoping to release the game for PlayStation 4 soon after New Year's as development on the game is complete, however, Sony has been reluctant to approve the game. Furthermore, Sony is confusingly asking Japanese developers to plead their approval only in English, making the process even more difficult for developers whose staff only speak or write in Japanese. The developer noted if they were to release the game for Windows PC (via Steam) they could release it next week.



Steamy games...

Steam bans adult only games in China lest the website gets blocked

Link Here2nd October 2018
Steam isn't officially available in China, but it's not officially blocked either. But this inbetween state still gives the censors unofficial power to ensure that Steam does not allow adult games to be sold in China.

Steam only recently stopped censoring adult games in the rest of the world but the change of policy will not apply to China.

As part of the policy shift, steam added two more content filtering options for users: A general Mature Content filter and an Adult Only filter. But China doesn't have the latter option, which means that they don't have access to these games at all.

Chinese media speculated that Steam is restricting adult titles from Chinese gamers to avoid getting officially blocked in the country. China's government is tightening its grip on the gaming industry and repeatedly clamps down on online content that they deem inappropriate, so Steam could be trying to keep a delicate balance: Not officially blocked, but not officially banned, either.

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