What just happened? China’s government has always had a strained relationship with the video games industry, and it’s got worse this year. Now, the country has formed an Online Games Ethics Committee, which objected to the first 20 titles it reviewed. According to the state-run China Central Television, via the South China Morning Post, the recently formed committee rejected nine games for publication outright, while asking for “controversial content” to be removed from the other 11, thereby eliminating “moral hazard.”

China’s State Administration of Radio and Television, which is in charge of monitoring games, has not issued licenses to any new titles since March 28 of this year, slowing growth in China’s game industry to single figures for the first time in a decade. Back in August, Tencent stopped selling the PC version of Monster Hunter: World just days after launch following demands from regulators.

China's government, which is already known for censoring what its citizens see on the internet, has been clamping down on the online gaming industry, whose 500 million users make it the largest in the world. Concerns over violent content along with addiction and myopia among young people have led to more restrictions, as well as in-game spending and time limits placed on younger players. Additionally, Ubisoft recently altered parts of Rainbow Six: Siege to get it past the Chinese censors.

As China tightens its controls over online games, the companies behind them are feeling the effects. Tencent has seen its value drop by more than 20 percent this year, while shares in NetEase are down by 30 percent.

Update: Although there is no official public list of the 20 games reviewed by the new "game ethics" committee, a thread on Reddit is documenting the process and has translated information divulged on Chinese forums. Take this as a rumor, but we found it worthy enough to be shared here:

Game Cause Recommended Action
Arena of Valor (Tencent) Overly revealing female characters, rewards given based on rank, distorted concepts of history and culture. Corrective action
League of Legends (Riot) Overly revealing female characters, rewards given based on rank, inharmonious chatroom. Corrective action
Blade & Soul (NCSOFT) Overly revealing female characters, inharmonious chatroom. Corrective action
Chu Liu Xiang (NetEase) Overly revealing female characters, inharmonious chatroom, game missions include fraud. Corrective action
Overwatch (Blizzard) Game visuals promote incorrect values, inharmonious chatroom. Corrective action
Diablo (Blizzard) Inharmonious chat, game missions include fraud. Corrective action
World of Warcraft (Blizzard) Overly revealing female characters, inharmonious chatroom. Corrective action
Westward Journey (NetEase) Overly revealing female characters, inharmonious chatroom, distorted concepts of history and culture. Corrective action
Code: Eva (Tencent) Rewards given based on rank, distorted concepts of history and culture. Corrective action
The Legent of Mir 3 (WeMade) Inharmonious chatroom. Corrective action
Swords of Legends Online (Aurogon) Inharmonious chatroom. Corrective action
PlayerUnknown's Battleground (Bluehole) Blood and gore. Prohibited/Withdraw
Fortnite (Epic) Blood and gore, vulgar content. Prohibited/Withdraw
H1Z1 (Daybreak) Blood and gore, vulgar content. Prohibited/Withdraw
Alliance of Valiant Arms (Red Duck) Blood and gore, vulgar content. Prohibited/Withdraw
Ring of Elysium (Tencent) Blood and gore, vulgar content. Prohibited/Withdraw
Paladins (Hi-Rez) Overly revealing female characters, blood and gore, vulgar content. Prohibited/Withdraw
Free Fire Battlegrounds (Garena) Overly revealing female characters, blood and gore, vulgar content. Prohibited/Withdraw
Knives Out (NetEase) Overly revealing female characters, blood and gore, vulgar content. Prohibited/Withdraw
Quantum Matrix (NetEase) Blood and gore, vulgar content, inharmonious chat Prohibited/Withdraw

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