Tencent, the Chinese multinational conglomerate with stakes in Fortnite and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, has released rules for streaming their games in China. A standout rule indicates Tencent blocks streaming content “that causes any negative social influences.” There are 10 rules in total, which apply to all game streaming platforms.
According to Esports Observer, the streaming rules are being implemented to bring Tencent in line with new internet governance guidance in China. The full list of rules is as follows:
- Violating the basic principles of constitutional law, sensitive topics including national politics, nationalities, religions, and regions.
- Publicizing or releasing illegal information, including but not limited to pornography, gambling, cults, terrorism, and other contents.
- Behavior directly or indirectly damaging Tencent Game user’s experience and brand.
- Disseminating or spreading false information to other users by pretending to officially represent Tencent.
- Disseminating private servers, cheating, hacking, or account boosting information.
- Promoting and instigating bloody violence in the real world.
- Violating others’ privacy and disclosing others’ information without permission.
- Violating the spirit of a contract, unilaterally terminating the contract or signing other unexcused agreements with third parties, during the term of a contract with a streaming platform.
- Violating the copyright of game publishers and content creators.
- Content that causes any negative social influences.
Tencent commented on the copyright portion of the announcement via Chinese social media site Weibo, “there is a natural copyright relationship between gaming contents and live streaming platforms. Tencent, as a gaming streaming platform leader and game publisher, has the responsibility to promote the standardization and authorization of streaming contents in the industry.”
The rules are wide-ranging and aim to combat everything from disparaging content about China to in-game hacks. As well as wanting to stay on the right side of Chinese law, Tencent is likely to want to stay in the good books of the Chinese government altogether. The Chinese government approves all video game titles for release in the country and, while two Tencent games were recently approved, the company has yet to be allowed to release PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds or Fortnite in the country. China has given its rulings on the games once before. In December 2018, China’s Online Gaming Ethics Review Committee. The committee banned PUBG for its “blood and gore” whilst “violence” was cited as the reason for Fortnite’s exclusion.
Tencent has a significant influence on gaming across the globe as owners of many popular names in the industry. Epic Games, Riot Games, Supercell and Miniclip are all owned by the Chinese giant. The company is also the second largest shareholder in Bluehole, the developer behind PUBG.
Along with strictly regulating what video games are allowed to be released in the country, China takes game playing into account when it comes to its controversial social credit system. Citizens who buy too many video games or are seen to be spending too much time playing them will see their social credit impacted.