China boasts one of the largest gaming industries in the world. Yet, recent years have seen the Chinese government take measures to restrain and regulate China’s online gaming industry. The enforced rules and regulations are designed to serve as a guide to parents, preventing some of the speculated undesirable effects on physical and mental health. In 2018, China’s education ministry announced that they planned to enforce new regulations on a number of online games and reduce the amount of time minors were allowed to play. Chinese authorities have also worked to clean up online content, eradicating content believed to be “unhealthy”, leading to the recent censorship in gaming.

When China opened up their video game market to the rest of the world, this led to a monumental rise in video game sales. That and the rapid adoption of smartphones across China led to the Chinese video game market becoming the largest in the world. In 2018, <a href="">China had 620 million video game players and spent roughly $38 billion on video games</a>. With figures like these, it is no surprise that many video game publishers seem to be focusing on Chinese gamers. For instance, gamers in the West took Diablo Immortal as a sign that Blizzard was focusing on China’s mobile market instead of them.

Most recently, China has introduced a curfew for video game playing minors to tackle gaming addiction amongst children. As of November 2019, gamers in China who are under the age of 18 will not be allowed to play online games between 10pm and 8am. Minors are restricted to 90 minutes of gaming per weekday, and three hours on weekends and public holidays. How could this affect video game companies who are hoping to launch games in China? Much like in 2018 when Epic Games partnered with Chinese giant Tencent to bring Fortnite to China, they failed to receive government approval for monetisation and the game never garnered the same success it did in the rest of the world.

As China’s government has opened up to Western culture, this has allowed many global video game companies to achieve success in China’s huge market. However, the pressures to achieve successful launches while dodging China’s matrix of restrictions has the potential for companies to act unethically. One such example is Blizzard’s public punishment of player Blitzchung when they shouted a Hong Kong protest slogan at the end of an interview. Blizzard’s open abhorring of the Hong Kong protest for democracy worked to boost their reputation in China, while the statement has largely attracted controversy in the West.