Rumors of Chinese citizens being unable to access certain games, including “Fortnite,” last week appear not to be true, sources and Variety’s own tests verify.
While several sources reported that China blocked “Fortnite” and “PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds,” including Deseret News and GameRevolution, there doesn’t appear to be any definitive proof that the games were blocked in China.
The rumor sparked after an imgur post in Chinese was posted to Reddit and subsequently translated. If translated correctly, though, the table of 20 games displays some clear inconsistencies. Further, it is unclear where exactly the image originated from.
For example, under “Fortnite” it lists “blood and gore” as an issue. Famously, though, the most popular game in the world does not have blood at all, opting for a more kid-friendly, cartoon-type violence instead.
China established an ethics committee to judge a series of games last week and reported that nine of the 20 reviewed were deemed inappropriate. It seems that the rumored bans are connected to the judgments made by this panel. Of the 20 games reviewed, 11 were deemed in need of revisions to “eliminate moral hazard” according to the government-run news source Xinhua.
However, it does not seem that the Chinese government has enforced any of the restrictions as of yet. In addition, there is no official word from the government regarding any bans or action taken, despite the open admission of the formation of the ethics panel in the first place. While it might choose to ban the games quietly, it would seem, well, inconsistent.
The ethics committee to approve games is the latest in a series of decisions made by the Chinese government to restrict game access. Previous efforts included one from the Ministry of Education with claims that playing video games could cause myopia, or nearsightedness, in young children.
Stew Chisam, president of Hi-Rez Studios, sent a statement to PC Games regarding the rumor of banned games.
“Tencent manages ‘Paladins’ in China, including full operation of the game and all interface with the government in regards to the game,” Chisam wrote. “At this time Hi-Rez can neither confirm nor deny reports regarding a government ban, and can offer no insights on corrective action.”
Further, some popular games are, reportedly, still accessible to Chinese citizens, including “League of Legends,” “Overwatch,” and “Diablo.” Though, these games are reportedly in need of “corrective action” to avoid a future ban, according to ScreenRant.
By testing via CompariTech, it is clear that several popular sites, such as the Steam Store and Reddit, are blocked in China. The “Fortnite” and “PUBG” and “H1Z1” websites, however, remain accessible. While the game’s sites URLs are not exactly the same as being able to play the games, it seems unlikely that their sites would not be blocked, as well.