In an effort to police the country’s video games, China recently established the Online Gaming Ethics Review Committee. And that committee has reportedly found its first offenders and divided them into a list, separating them by “corrective action” or “prohibited/withdraw” depending on the infractions. While games like Overwatch require “corrective action,” some have been outright prohibited. Violence got Fortnite banned in the country along with a number of other titles like PUBG, H1Z1, and more.
The list was revealed on NGA, a Chinese forum, and then translated and posted to Reddit. However, users point to games like Fortnite and PUBG still being playable in the territory so it’s unclear if the actions have been enforced yet.
Of the 20 games reviewed, nine have been “prohibited.” PUBG, Fortnite, H1Z1, Alliance of Valiant Arms, Ring of Elysium, Free Fire Battlegrounds, Paladins, Knives Out, and Quantum Matrix were among the banned titles but for slightly different reasons. PUBG was cited for “blood and gore” and the next three were also dinged for “vulgar content.” This might be due to emotes or something of the like. The next three titles were also knocked for “overly revealing female characters.” Quantum Matrix, however, had “blood and gore, vulgar content, inharmonious chat,” according to the report.
Overt violence seemed to be one of the major factors of getting Fortnite banned alongside with the other eight. Of the 11 titles needing “corrective action,” none were docked for violence including games like Diablo and League of Legends. Presumably, having more melee combat and fewer realistic guns made it possible to duck the censors. The 11 games are Arena of Valor, League of Legends, Blade and Soul, Chu Liu Xiang, Overwatch, Diablo, World of Warcraft, Westward Journey, Code: Eva, The Legent of Mir 3, and Sword of Legends Online.
China deems that those titles all need corrective action over “inharmonious chat, “overly revealing female characters,” “rewards given based on rank,” “distorted concepts of history and culture,” or “game visuals promote incorrect values” or some combination. Overwatch, however, is the only title that has “game visuals promote incorrect values” but it’s unclear why. “Inharmonious chat” means the lack of a censored chat and “rewarding by rank” may have something to do with implying some sort of class system, which theoretically goes against China’s communism ideals.
Blizzard also reportedly posted to its official Weibo account saying it had not received a noticed but then deleted the statement. China also has not officially come out with a list of what games have or have not been banned.
Video games have not been the only thing banned from China. The country has also banned hip hop culture, actors with tattoos, pornography, much of the internet, books, films, Winnie the Pooh, media from Tiananmen Square, journalism, and many, many more parts of life. The Winnie the Pooh censors may even cause problems for the upcoming Kingdom Hearts 3.