A recently released report by the Chinese government has shown that said Chinese ethics assessment may mean the start of a new surge of licensing for various games to be released in China. This might end up opening up a whole new market to many developers, if they follow the rules.
China’s ethics assessment was aimed at 20 different multiplayer games such as PUBG, Fortnite, Diablo, Overwatch, League of Legends, and more. 11 of these were ordered to adjust their content in order to conform more with Chinese values. 9 of these, including PUBG, H1Z1, and Fortnite, were banned for being unable to do so.
The Chinese ethics assessment was aimed at more of this, both to combat values that might be against Chinese morals, along with being able to combat an epidemic of near-sightedness in children who sit too close to TVs. However, the new standards, so long as big-name developers do their best to adjust to the rules of China, are more aimed at a variety of copycat and ripoff games that are currently flooding Chinese markets.
These regulations have hit Chinese publisher Tencent particularly hard, considering that they’re one of the biggest video game-related companies in China. The regulation has cost Tencent over $100 billion, and they already release various games for Chinese audiences including Call of Duty, PUBG, and Dungeon Fighter Online.
China has a similar value system in place for other bits of entertainment like movies, which includes rules like how the villain must always be caught at the end, and the films must keep the values of Chinese society in mind.
At the same time however, this will cause various developers to have to edit their games for a Chinese release, which means doing things like taking out excessive violence and gore or at least toning those sorts of elements down in order to receive a license. But if the Chinese ethics assessment does end up opening the way to more developers to release games in China, hopefully they’ll be able to adjust to the country’s standards.