The government of China has announced that they will not allow video games to be shown on any audio or video platforms including online streams, variety shows, or short videos if they are not legally approved, this will include a vast number of well-known western and Japanese titles.
A report today from the Chinese government announced a number of new policies regarding “Strengthening the Live Streaming Management of Online Audio-Visual Program Platforms”. This included making it “strictly forbidden” to show footage of illegal (unapproved) video games on audio-video platforms.
“1. It is strictly forbidden to disseminate illegal games on online audio-visual platforms. All kinds of online audio-visual programs such as online film and television dramas, online variety shows, online live broadcasts, and short videos are not allowed to broadcast online games that have not been approved by the competent authorities, and must not use live broadcast rooms and other forms to drain the illegal game content of various platforms.”
Under these laws, many popular video games will not be allowed to be streamed or have any pre-recorded footage distributed over social media.
Elden Ring was a hit on Chinese game live streaming platforms reaching 17.1m cumulative daily average viewers in its first week.
But it’s not approved for sale there (People still find ways to buy it ofc).
If the below is fully enforced, Elden Ring couldn’t be streamed at all. https://t.co/roKxkQwatI
— Daniel Ahmad (@ZhugeEX) April 15, 2022
The government has previously banned a large number of games from being streamed on popular social media hub Bilibili. It seems this new policy has taken this position even further.
In order for video games to be legally sold in China, they must first be approved by the Ministry of Culture. In the past, this law was not so heavily enforced and as such there are many ways that users can access unapproved games such as using special apps to access international gaming platforms like Steam (the Chinese Steam lacks the majority of titles the global version has).
In the last couple of years, however, China has seen harsher enforcement of the approval laws. As result companies like Tencent have decided to shut down their version of these apps to slow users’ access to restricted games.
The government has also placed stricter content regulations on video games, such as only allowing minors to play for 3 hours every week.