Hot potatoes: China continues its crusade against popular online gaming, and Fortnite is the latest victim of the country’s increasingly restrictive regulatory framework. The popular Battle Royale game has been in beta since 2018, but it looks like the Chinese government has decided it won’t license Epic Games and Tencent to officially launch.
Epic Games is closing down Fortnite in China in the next two weeks. According to Fortnite Chinese post Web siteEpic and Tencent are ditching the country’s popular free-to-play battle royale game, which means players will not be able to register an account or download the game on November 15.
The post on the website reads “The Fortress Night test has come to an end,” and it also mentions that the servers will be shut down in the near future. However, neither Epic nor Tencent gave reasons for such a drastic decision.
It’s worth noting that players who played the Chinese version of Fortnite had a different experience than everyone else in the world. For example, there was a separate health bar for damage taken during a storm, and multiple players could earn a Victory Royale if they survived long enough. These are just a few of the cosmetic and gameplay changes that have been made to the game to appease the regulators.
Nobody knows how big the Chinese player base was, and the game has never officially launched in the country. Fortnite has been in beta testing in China for over two years for a fairly simple reason – the Chinese government has never licensed Tencent.
This also means that Tencent was unable to make money from in-app transactions, which also applies to the original version of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds. In 2019, the company attempted to relaunch the game in a more patriotic and ruthless manner called The Game for Peace, and this version received the green light from regulators.
Chinese Fortnite players will now have to look for workarounds to play the international version of the game as the local version is no longer legal in the country. Some speculate that the abrupt closure is due to China’s restrictive play laws for children under 18, who are technically only allowed to play games for three hours a week, so they may be protected from “spiritual opium.”