Battlefield 4 And Other 'Hostile' Games Banned In China
When China lifted the ban on home gaming consoles it was pretty obvious it was going to come with a few stipulations that gamers weren't going to be entirely fond of. For now, China's cultural ministry has already made it known that they won't allow any game that they feel is “hostile” towards their government or the portrayal of the country within the game.
According to Overlord Gaming, China's Minister of Culture, Cai Wu, commented about the recent lift on the ban of home consoles that was originally instituted in 2000, as well as the software that will come with the ban lift, stating...
“Things that are hostile to China, or not in conformity with the outlook of China’s government, won’t be allowed. We want to open the window a crack to get some fresh air, but we still need a screen to block the flies and mosquitoes.”
What constitutes flies and mosquitoes? Apparently games such as Command & Conquer: Generals for “smearing the image of China and the Chinese army” and Football Manager 2005 for ”recognizing Tibet as an independent country”. In addition to those, Battlefield 4 also got hit with the ban-hammer for the rogue admiral portrayed as trying to overthrow the Chinese government, and Wu wasn't having any of that kind of mosquito-play getting through China's protective net of cultural integrity.
During the original lift of the console ban, a lot of gamers were curious if publishers would begin recalibrating their business direction to fit content more in-line with the censorship rules of mainland China.
For the majority of 2014 releases we probably won't see any retrofitting happening with the content of any AAA titles, but 2015 is a whole other story. Many games scheduled for release in 2015 are probably getting a lot of the groundwork laid and system structures in place. This means that content for titles released throughout 2015 could be affected by the new censorship laws being put into place by the Chinese government to ensure that nothing culturally disruptive makes it onto store shelves.
The funny thing about it is that the only company in a prime position to make a ton of cash from this venture and not have to redo, retrofit, alter, change or modify their content is... Nintendo.
The reality is that the company already focuses a lot of their efforts on family-friendly content and outside of Bayonetta 2, majority of their first and second party line-up is completely capable of making it to China's store shelves with nary a need to circumcise their games for the mainland audience.
Sony would seem like the next best bet for making it big in the People's Republic, but that's assuming their other first-party offerings outside of inFamous: Second Son and The Order 1886 aren't anything too far off the deep-end that China would feel their nationalism is being threatened by the content.
Microsoft might be in a more precarious position, as developers for games like Titanfall, Quantum Break and Halo 5 would have to be a lot more self-conscious about how nationalism is portrayed in the final product, if they hope to have a devil's chance on the store shelves in mainland China.
If any of Microsoft's killer apps and system sellers don't make the cut, then they could have a hard time moving hardware and software in China.
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