Technology

Fortnite will shut down in China for video game crackdown

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The Fortnite logo displayed on a smartphone with the flag of China in the background.

Budrul Chukrut | SOPA pictures | LightRakete | Getty Images

Fortnite ends in China.

The hugely popular battle royale game developed by Epic Games will end its local Chinese version on November 15th, according to an update on its website.

As of November 1st, users were unable to register for new accounts.

Epic has not given a specific reason for Fortnite closing in China.

“Fortress Night”, the Chinese version of the game, was released in 2018 through a partnership with publisher Tencent. The Shenzhen-based tech giant is a major investor in Epic and has a 40% stake in the company.

The game never technically had a full launch in China. Instead, it was playable in a “test” mode, with some features such as in-app purchases being excluded from the major version.

“The battle royale genre is strictly regulated in China,” tweeted Daniel Ahmad, senior analyst at Niko Partners. “The domestic games approved there have made major changes to the content.”

China is known for having a firm grip on the video game sector. Games have to go through a strict approval process before being introduced in the country, with Western titles often having to be heavily censored.

Earlier this year, Beijing introduced even stricter controls on games, with the government limiting the time children under 18 can play online to just three hours a week.

Epic Games is the latest US company to recently bid farewell to China as the country instigates violent regulatory crackdowns on its tech sector.

Last month, Microsoft’s own social network, LinkedIn, said it was closing its local version in China due to a “significantly more difficult operating environment and higher compliance requirements.”

Instead, the company plans to launch a job search site in China – with no social media capabilities.

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