Fortnite is game over in China

Fortnite is game over in China
One of the most popular games of the modern age - Fortnite, is shutting down in China on November 15th. It seems that the battle royale has finally given up after two years of testing on Chinese grounds. The game was never officially launched in China and was missing core features during its trial run, such as in-app purchases.

The senior analyst and game insider Daniel Ahmad posted on Twitter the apparent reasons why Fortnite has been pulled out.

“The battle royale genre has been strictly regulated in China, the domestic games that are approved there have heavy content changes,” tweeted Ahmad.

The Chinese government has very strict guidelines for video games, and the whole market is crazy regulated. Battle royale games are a subject of even harder scrutiny, so much so they have to be marketed as “military training games”, and not “kill everyone else” type of games.

PUBG was one of the victims of these guidelines - the Chinese government banned the game last September, mainly because of its realistic depiction of violence, blood, and gore. Fortnite, on the other hand, features a much more tamed and cartoonish styling, but apparently, this wasn’t enough to convince the Chinese government.

China wants to protect its youth

There’s another angle to the matter. China has been implementing various measures and tools to limit kids’ video game exposure. There are government rules saying that people under 18 can only game for one hour each Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

And if this seems tyrannical, there’s a much darker aspect to this law. The country has developed a special screening system called “Midnight patrol”, and it looks like something taken from a dystopian movie.

“Midnight patrol” scans the face of the person who tries to launch a game after 10 p.m. and if the artificial intelligence behind the system decides that that person is a kid, it locks the phone. There are so many things wrong with this and at so many levels.

Back to Fortnite - apparently the game is too fun to play and Chinese kids spend too much time playing it. So, as of November 1st, account creation has been locked down in Fortnite. Existing accounts will be able to continue killing stuff until November 15th.

Our take

There’s not much to be said here - this move just goes to show that there are alarming signs in the geopolitical landscape. And while China seems to be almost an abstract place to some people, we shouldn’t dismiss such signs lightly.

On the other hand, there’s a serious issue with kids spending too much time playing video games. What’s even worse is that smartphone games are using a different business model to other games.

Addictive mobile games hack your brain to drain your wallet, and kids are much more susceptible to such tricks. Fortnite, for example, is free-to-play but there are in-app purchases that can quickly drain one’s wallet. The game raked in $300 million on iOS in 200 days, showing that in-app purchases work wonders.

Of course, we don’t have to put our kids under surveillance in order to solve the issue. Let’s hope the Chinese method won’t spread to other countries in the future.

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