Rumor: Fortnite to Be Banned in China

A new "ethics assessment committee" in China has banned nine titles from release in the country, and reports suggest that Epic's Fortnite is one of them.

Last week, it was announced that a Chinese "ethics assessment committee" had reviewed the contents of 20 online games, requiring that 11 of these titles be amended before release in China and banning nine of them outright.

Now, a recent report suggests that the battle royale sensation Fortnite is one of these banned titles.

According to China's state-run press agency Xinhua, the assessment committee is "comprised of online gaming experts and researchers from the government departments, industry institutions and media outlets," and its goal is to be certain that online games, like Fortnite, "meet a certain code of ethics" prior to their release in China.

While Xinhua does confirm that 20 games have been reviewed by the committee, the suggestion that Fortnite is amongst the banned titles comes via a post on NGA, a Chinese gaming forum, which has since been translated on Reddit.

The reason for the ban is cited as "blood and gore, vulgar content," and the post indicates that other battle royale titles, including PlayerUnknown's BattlegroundH1Z1, and Ring of Elysium, are being denied for similar infractions.

In March, China's regulators put a full stop on issuing commercial licenses for online games, effectively preventing the public release of new titles and creating a significant shake-up in the massive market. While the results of this first round of reviews suggest that the newly established committee has strict guidelines for approval, it is, at least, indication that this total freezing of new licenses is coming to an end.

This increased focus on online gaming follows what Xinhua describes as "social concerns" about video game addiction and the negative impact they can have on their players. For instance, in August, China's Ministry of Education suggested a correlation between video game playing and damaged eyesight, and they called for a decrease in the number of online games released in the country as a result. 

At this point, there has not been an official statement confirming the ban of Fortnite in China, however, it is clear that the assessment committee has recommended that a number of titles not be granted official release. While it is difficult to be certain the exact impact this new approval structure will have, China is the world's largest video game market, and these types of bans will, no doubt, be felt the world over.

The post outlining the rumored banned titles can be found on Reddit.

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A stay-at-home-dad with a passion for meditation and video games.

Published Dec. 17th 2018

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