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No Mahjong, Poker or Blood, for Chinese Players

Posted on Friday, May 17 2019 @ 11:14:05 CEST by


China’s New Video Game Rules
In late December 2018, the Chinese government brought a nine-month freeze on new video game approvals to an end. This was after a major reorganisation in the government shifted this process to the State Administration of Press and Publication, an administrative agency more focused on propaganda. The new restrictions and requirements have now been officially released, and it has to be said that it doesn’t look good for Mortal Kombat 11!

The Benefits of Obeying the Rules
Thanks to having a population of more than 1.4 billion people, making a game available in China gives developers’ bottom lines a serious boost, but three game genres will no longer be allowed.

If you like playing bingo for money you’re still okay, but Mahjong and Poker fans will be disappointed. No more gambling titles built around these games will be allowed, and neither will those featuring the imperial history of China, or those using corpses and blood, no matter what the colour of the latter may be!

Clever game designers who have simply been changing the colour of blood to green, for example, and calling it sweat or slime, will find their attempts to sneak it through this way blocked going forward.

These new rules will be coming into play alongside existing regulations that make pornography forbidden. Other initiatives include a request being made to publishers to alter the manner in which their games promote Chinese cultures and values so that if they find popularity worldwide a favourable impression of the country will be made.

Publishers Will Have to Reveal More
The new rules will also require publishers and developers to divulge more data about given titles, including screenshots, detailed scripts, and information on what features are included to curb gameplay addiction and overspending.

These have both been issues for a long time in this part of the world, and first started being addressed in 2007, with regulations being instituted for PC games which went on to be expanded to include mobile gaming as well.
The Market is Opening Up

The world’s largest gaming company, Tencent, recently received approval to begin selling the Nintendo Switch in China, and the new guidelines for approval are seeing the gaming market here open up to the rest of the digital world.

Being able to access what Bloomberg has described as the biggest gaming market in the world is obviously a good thing for publishers and developers, but most will either have to make alternate versions available for certain games in order to get approved or tone down their titles altogether in order to make them compliant.

Bowing to censorship is never ideal, but that’s not going to stop developers who want their piece of the estimated US$30 billion in annual video game sales in China which is likely to rise now that the approval freeze is finished.

The government will be able to start throwing its weight around and this is sure to affect the kinds of games that app stores will receive during 2019.



 
 

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