Reports and rumors have emerged suggesting that some video games, including Fortnite and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, have been banned in China. These supposed bans have been handed out by the country’s Online Ethics Review Committee.
We might not be dropping in China
Earlier this month, China created the Online Ethics Review Committee. Its purpose is to review online games and make sure they don’t breach Chinese social and ethical rules. Readers might remember hearing about Chinese censorship from Ubisoft’s plans to sanitize Rainbow Six Siege.
The rumor was sparked by a post on the Chinese gaming forum NGA, which was translated into English on Reddit. The post features a list of games (translated by Dexerto,) their offenses, and the recommended course of action. Among the banned games are Fortnite, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, Paladins, and H1Z1. Blizzard, Netease, and Tencent feature prominently on this list, with four, three, and six of their games appearing on the list.
However, there are some caveats to the post. A Reddit user pointed out that this could have been put together by the NGA user and passed as a leak. In addition, there are some odd rulings, or lack thereof. For instance, Widowmaker from Overwatch features female cleavage as part of her outfit. Despite such a thing not even being allowed on Chinese TV, Overwatch is only slated for “corrective action.” Meanwhile, Fortnite is banned for “blood and gore” despite being completely bloodless.
According to Fox Sports Asia, no publishers have confirmed or denied the bans. PCGamesN offers the most publisher commentary, so far. Stew Chisam, the president of Hi-Rez Studios, said about their game Paladins:
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.
Blizzard reportedly denied that they received any notice on a Weibo (China’s Twitter) post. However, the post is no longer up.