China is implementing strict policies on the types of video games they’ll be allowing their 1.4 billion citizens to play from now on.
Blood and gore are officially banned. In the past, games have skirted by this regulation by simply changing the color of blood. But this will no longer be good enough. The country is also banning games that include China’s imperial history and gambling games like Mahjong and Poker.
These new rules will coincide with China’s existing ban on pornography.
While it seems like controlling nudity and the use of corpses in video games is enough, China isn’t done there. Other initiatives that the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, and Television are exploring include requesting publishers to change their game names to titles that positively promote Chinese values and culture.
All of these regulations come after a months-long video game approval freeze in December of 2018. That’s when the approval process was handed over to the propaganda-driven State Administration of Press and Publication.
While these new restrictions may seem quite harsh, China already has a history of cracking down on video games. Restrictions have been coming through since 2007 thanks to the country’s issues with gaming addiction. New regulations brought forth by the administration continue to address this alleged epidemic by requiring developers and publishers to consider ways in which their games will cut back gameplay time and in-game spending.
Despite all of the censorship and propagandistic regulations, many developers will likely continue to target China. Bloomberg called the country “the world’s largest gaming market,” due to its $30 billion in annual video game sales. Developers and publishers may even create alternate versions of games to meet the country’s newly strict guidelines.
Video games aren’t the only form of entertainment being so censored by the Chinese government.
After discussing Game of Throne’s Season 8 premier with other fans, Chinese viewres began to realize just how much of the show they were missing out on. The extreme censorship of the show ended up leaving out important plot points from inclusion in the Chinese broadcast.
To respect local laws, HBO’s Chinese partner Tencent had cut almost six minutes of the premiere episode, “Winterfell.” The forbidden six minutes featured sex, violence, and “supernatural horror.”