Epic Games has pulled the plug on Fortnite in China, the world’s largest video gaming market. The move comes following China’s ongoing crackdown against online video games that the authorities reportedly consider a waste of time and a bad influence for young kids.
As a result, games developed by both foreign companies and China’s own developers have been affected. The country earlier this year put a time limit for online games being played by children to just three hours a week, with minors being able to play games only between 8 pm and 9 pm on Fridays, weekends, and public holidays.
After formally announcing that “Fortnite China’s Beta test has reached an end” two weeks ago, Epic Games has now reportedly shut down what was already a China-specific version of Fortnite.
Similar to Battlegrounds Mobile India (the Indian version of PUBG Mobile), Fortnite’s Chinese counterpart ditched references to the extreme violence that is usually associated with such games. However, despite this, the game will now no longer function in the country.
While no official report has come from Epic Games yet, many Fortnite players from China have taken to Weibo, a China-based micro-blogging platform to collectively bid farewell to the game. A report by AFP reveals that the hashtag on the game was viewed over 470 million times.
China’s seemingly abrupt and harsh moves in the past have led to tech companies pulling out of operations in the country. Earlier this year, Microsoft pulled the plug on LinkedIn in China seven years after its launch, while later in the year Yahoo also shut down in the country citing its “increasingly challenging business and legal environment.”