Epic Games, a US gaming company, has announced that it will shut down its famous survival game "Fortnite" in China, months after authorities placed a slew of new restrictions on the world's largest gaming industry as part of a broader crackdown on the digital sector.
China's Crackdown Ban of 'Fortnite'
In an effort to tighten its grip on the economy, Beijing has imposed a wide-ranging regulatory crackdown on a number of industries, with internet companies bearing the brunt of the damage.
In September, officials announced steep limitations to the number of time minors can spend playing online and required players to register using ID cards in order to combat addiction in the gaming-crazed country.
The move harmed companies' capacity to make money and drove gaming stock prices down.
With that, Epic has just pulled the plug on "Fortnite's" beta test in the country.
Epic Game's "Fortnite," said, "Fortnite China's Beta test is now over, and the servers will be shut down shortly... We will turn off game servers on November 15 at 11 a.m., and gamers will no longer be able to check-in."
Tencent's Hong Kong-listed shares, which possess a substantial investment in Epic, were down on Tuesday, Nov. 2.
According to Gadgets, the decision puts a stop to a long-running test of Epic's version of "Fortnite" , which was designed expressly for the Chinese market and censored for excessive violence.
The Chinese test version was published in 2018, but since approvals for new games were delayed, the battle royale never obtained government approval for a formal launch.
The action-packed shooter and world-building game is one of the most popular in the world, with over 350 million users - more than the United States' whole population.
Closure of 'Fortnite'
In mid-November, Epic Games, the creators of "Fortnite," will shut down the battle royale in China as reported by The Verge.
Starting Monday, Nov. 1, gamers will no longer be able to join up for "Fortnite" or download it, according to the message from developers.
Nevertheless, the note expressed gratitude to players for "boarding the bus" and taking part in the game.
Unfortunately, Epic Games did not disclose any other information on why the game was shut down.
After Microsoft said in October that it will close its career-oriented social network LinkedIn, Epic Games is the second US-based business to yank a popular product from China in recent weeks.
Hundreds of Chinese video game companies, including Tencent, pledged in September to better police their products for "politically harmful" content and impose age restrictions on young gamers in order to comply with official requests.
In a joint statement, the 213 game companies vowed to prohibit anything that was "politically destructive, historically nihilistic, nasty and pornographic, gory and threatening."
Regulators have also instructed Chinese gaming companies to stop focusing on profit and instead focus on attracting fans, with those found to be breaking the regulations facing sanctions.
Fans in China were disappointed by "Fortnite's" announcement and flocked to social media to express their sorrow.
Many said they had spent hundreds of hours on the game developing their personalities and social networks.
On Weibo, several "Fortnite" fan accounts published a link to a petition in which gamers requested Epic to transfer their data to servers outside of China, stating that they would lose the gaming data that contained "our heart and mind."