Epic Games have officially confirmed the hugely popular game Fornite will close its servers down in China.
Player registrations were disabled yesterday, leaving new users unable to sign up for an account. The servers will be completely shut down for good on November 15th, meaning Chinese players will not be able to connect to the game from that date.
The battle-royale phenomenon, also known as Fortress Night in China, was noted to be very different from the one in the West. An example of this comes with China making any depictions of skulls illegal in the country, forcing the game to heavily alter graphics that feature skulls. Games also have a hard twenty-minute time limit, with all remaining players granted a victory if a solo victor isn’t achieved in that time.
The game broke into the Chinese market thanks to a partnership with Shenzhen-based publisher Tencent who also owns a 40% stake in Epic Games. At the time of writing, neither company has given a reason for the game’s termination, but when asked for comment a representative for Epic Games pointed to a post published on the games blog page which simply reads, “Dear users: Fortnite China’s Beta test has come to an end and the servers will be closed soon. Thank you to everyone who has ridden the Battle Bus with us by participating in the Beta.”
Although both companies are remaining tight-lipped on the exact reasons behind the closure, it is believed that a huge crackdown from the Chinese government on online gaming has played a huge role in the decision. It was reported that back in August, the Chinese government restricted online gaming for those under 18 to just three hours per week – A decision that was made in order to tackle what they labeled as “addiction”.
Daniel Ahmad, a video game industry analyst, spoke of the news and speculated why the decision has been made. “Fortnite never officially launched in China. The game has been undergoing testing for the past 2+ years and does not include IAP (In-App-Purchases). This is because the game was never approved by the government and therefore could not officially launch + monetize. Hence the shut down now.”
The shutdown within the Chinese market will come as a huge disappointment for all involved, given the game’s massive worldwide popularity and the huge commercial opportunities available.