Last year, China officially became the world’s largest market for the international games industry. Finally overtaking the United States as the “gamer capital of the world” at least in terms of market size. With over 600 million Chinese gamers spending a reported $24.6 billion for their digital entertainment. For comparisons sake, Americans spent just a mere $24.1 billion that same year.
Given this recent surge in popularity, it’s of little surprise that the Communist Chinese government is beginning to more closely question the influence these games are having on it’s highly controlled population. Which is likely why authorities in Beijing have just announced the start of a special investigative campaign into these games. The campaign having a stated goal of rooting out those games which might “violate core socialist values.”
Publicly announced today via the official state run Xinhua News Agency. The formal investigation will run for at least a month and search to identify games that, “have severe deviation in value, distort history, smear historical figures, violate government policies on ethnicities and religions, promote content that are lurid, violent or related to gambling.” The same release also summed up the campaign’s goal in the simplest of terms. Stating it would eliminate from China, games that were of “low taste.”
Given the broad scope of what the Chinese government might determine to be low taste, it’s of little surprise both Chinese gamers and developers alike are worried about what might result from this investigation. Foreign developers as well might soon find themselves losing a lucrative Chinese market, as authorities have made it clear they will work to block any illegal content from overseas. So simply importing a newly banned title isn’t likely to be an option an option for Chinese gamers either.With a gaming population in China, almost twice the size of the entire United States, it will be interesting to see any unrest a potential mass crackdown on games might actually cause in the country. Especially when you consider the other popular trends the Chinese government has been working to restrict in recent months, in a self proclaimed effort to preserve the nations core Communist values. These measures including everything from a crackdown on Christianity, the banning of Hip-Hop music and culture, and even restricting sales on sex dolls. Whether the Chinese people will simply continue to just peacefully accept all this increased Government control on their lives now becomes the real question.
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