In respect of social distancing, Hong Kong democracy protestors have moved online. And one avenue of protest was via the popular Nintendo Switchgame Animal Crossing: New Horizons.
The game allows players to customise their own island with
political messages, and then invite others to visit. Examples of customisation include banners that read: Free Hong Kong - Revolution Now. There are also disparaging posts featuring images of Chinese President Xi Jinping and Hong Kong's chief executive
China has inevitably now banned the game and it has been expunged from online market places.
Even Hong Kong sites, which had previously advertised imported copies have now removed those listings. It is not clear, however,
whether this is because there has been an intervention by the authorities or whether the sites are self censoring in fear of Chinese reprisals.
Players in mainland China have also customised the game with coronavirus-related content, including
face masks for the characters, and islands with temperature checkpoints.
A game which challenges players to spread a deadly virus around the world has been banned in China, its makers have said.
Plague Inc. has been pulled from the Chinese app store for including illegal content, British-based developer Ndemic
Creations said. In a statement, Ndemic Creations said:
We have some very sad news to share with our China-based players. We've just been informed that Plague Inc. 'includes content that is illegal in China as
determined by the Cyberspace Administration of China' and has been removed from the China App Store. This situation is completely out of our control.
Plague Inc. has become a huge hit since it was launched eight years ago. It now has 130
million players worldwide and soared in popularity in China amid the coronavirus outbreak, becoming the bestselling app in the country in January. Some players suggested they were downloading the game as a way to cope with fears surrounding the virus.
CTech giant Tencent has dropped the hugely popular mobile version of PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds (PUBG) in China after it was more or less banned by the government's game censors. It was not quite banned, just not allowed to earn any money.
to worry, Tencent has a similar title, Heping Jingying or Elite Force for Peace, with a few tweaks to smooth things with the censors. Charcaters do note beeleed, the minimum age for players has been raised to 16, and most importantly, it features
heroic Chinese forces kicking ass.
Geopolitics might also have contributed to PUBG Mobile's rejection. Tencent licenses the game from South Korean company Bluehole, and Chinese authorities can be hostile to South Korean goods.
gamers, though, the disruption should be minimal. Tencent is allowing users to port over characters from PUBG Mobile to Heping Jingying, and one analyst told Reuters that the new game was incredibly similar to the older title.
There has been a bit of a bottleneck for gaming in China as the responsibility for games censorship moved from a government organisati to a Communist Party propaganda unit.
As the new organisations starts to work out its new remit it is hardly
surprising that new censorship rules would appear. And now the new game censor has announced three new game themes that are now banned:
gambling games such as Mahjong and Poker
games that deal with the country's imperial history
games featuring corpses and blood--of any color.
Other initiatives include requesting publishers to change how their titles promote Chinese values and culture so that if they become popular around the world, they'll portray the country in a favorable light.
The new regulations also require
developers and publishers to divulge more information about a given title including detailed scripts, screenshots, as well as what features are being included to help curb gameplay addiction and over-spending by the country's younger population.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
An American video game that allows players to bomb Tiananmen Square has become the focal point of the latest Chinese censorship crack down.
Although Call of Duty Black Ops II was first released in 2012, officials in the eastern province of
Jiangxi singled it out in a recent crackdown that ordered internet cafes to stop their customers playing banned games. A short sequence in the game's alternative reality, in which a character recalls a fictional Second World War bombing raid in the heart
of the Chinese capital, appears to have particularly angered the censors.
Another game that fell foul of the censors was a locally produced one, Red Alert 2: Glory of the Republic, which allows players to fight against the People's
Provincial authorities from the culture ministry visited 39 internet cafes in the province in the last week of March to make sure they were not offering banned games, the report added. More than 5,000 internet cafes in the
province have now installed a government surveillance system on their computers. Officials will be notified if users have been playing banned games in the cafes. Nag screens regularly interrupt players at internet cafes without the latest update of the
games snooping program.
China has proposed new restrictions for online gaming companies to implement. Major tech companies with significant presence in the region could have to undergo substantial operational changes, reports Dow Jones Business News.
The draft rules posted
online by the Chinese government on Sept. 30, would require online-game operators to lock out users under the age of 18 between the hours of midnight and 8 a.m. The rules will apply to all smart devices.
The regulation is vague as to whether
companies would have to use Beijing-approved software. The country says it will support the development of web-filtering software to keep children safe online and will determine whether preexisting products comply with the new requirements.
with the internet curfew would be a requirement for a number of websites to post warnings for content unsuitable for minors.