Recap: Back in March, concerns posed by the Chinese government regarding violence in video games and the health impacts of addiction culminated in a total ban. Many famous titles, such as Fortnite, Overwatch and PUBG were forced to pause and review their content while smaller studios saw their revenue plummet when they were prohibited from monetizing their games.
Now, finally, China’s State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television has begun reviewing games to see if they can be published in China. First noticed by Reuters, 80 new games were given the OK yesterday. Noticeably absent from the list were games from both Tencent, China’s largest game publisher, and NetEase, their second largest publisher.
According to China’s 21st Century Business Herald, that’s due to the terrible system China has implemented for game reviewing. They’ve deployed a first in best-dress system, with a backlog of some 7,000 titles. This means that large and popular titles are by and large thrown in with the tiny indie games, forcing players to potentially wait months. Even worse, the registration committee may only have time to evaluate less than half of the titles in the queue by the end of next year.
The temporary ban has seen the world’s largest gaming market slow for the first time in over a decade, and it may still cause many smaller Chinese studios to go out of business.
Regarding the expected ‘positive’ impacts, there seems to be better ways to control addiction and its impacts on health including myopia and weight gain.
For example, last year Tencent restricted players under twelve to one hour of gaming per day and players twelve to eighteen to two hours a day, in Chinese hit Honor of Kings (a mobile MOBA adaptation of League of Legends). In July, Tencent began notifying parents when an underage player spent more than $75 on games per month. These two measures had a dramatic positive impact, say reports.
Violence is something China has become very pedantic about, despite the absence of any indication that violence in video games promotes violence in real life. Still, discussing dialing down gore in Doom is something, but calling Fortnite “bloody and violent” may be beyond excessive.