August 9, 2022
Fortnite pulled by Epic Games from China over massive crackdown on tech sector

US tech giant Epic Games said it would shut down its popular survival game Fortnite in China, months after officials imposed tough restrictions on the world’s biggest gaming market as part of a broader crackdown on the technology sector.

Beijing has launched a massive regulatory crackdown on several industries to tighten its control over the economy, with tech firms bearing the brunt of the pain.

In September, officials said they wanted to curb addiction in the gaming-mad nation, when children can spend time playing online and order players to use ID cards when registering.

The move dealt a serious blow to the companies’ ability to make profits and resulted in a fall in the share prices of gaming firms.

Now, Epic has pulled the plug on Fortnite, saying it will be shutting down the widely popular game on November 15.

“Fortnite China’s beta testing has ended, and the servers will be shutting down soon,” it said in a statement.

“At 11am on November 15th, we will shut down the game servers, and players will no longer be able to log in.”

Hong Kong-listed shares of Tencent, which holds a major stake in Epic, were down on Tuesday.

The move ends Epic’s long-running testing of a version of Fortnite made specifically for the Chinese market, where the material is polished to extreme violence.

The Chinese trial version was released in 2018, but Fortnite never got the government’s green light for a formal launch as approval for new games slowed.

The action-packed shooter and world-building game is one of the most popular in the world, with over 350 million users – more than the population of the United States.

cracks in the industry

Epic is the second US-based company to pull a popular product from China in recent weeks, after Microsoft announced the closure of its career-oriented social network LinkedIn in October.

In September, hundreds of Chinese video game makers, including Tencent, vowed to better police their products and ban underage players for “politically harmful” content, as they seemed to fall in line with government demands.

In a joint statement, 213 gaming firms pledged to ban “politically harmful, historically nihilistic, nasty and obscene, bloody and horrific” content.

Chinese gaming firms have also been ordered by regulators to stop focusing on gaining profit and fans, with enterprises that are seen as violating the rules, threatening punishment.

Fortnite’s announcement was met with grief from fans in China, who took to social media to mourn the loss of the game.

One Weibo user wrote, “I am really crying – I was just playing with my boyfriend and really waiting for what was going to happen next.” “It’s just so sudden.”

Many said they have spent hundreds of hours building their characters and social networks on the game.

Several Fortnite fan accounts on Weibo shared a link to a petition where players urged Epic to transfer players’ data to servers outside China, writing that they are gaming with “our hearts and minds” stored in it. data will be lost.

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