The Chinese government has recently been cracking down on the gaming industry’s influence in the country. From the removal of Monster Hunter World on Tencent’s “WeGame” platform, to the temporary blocking of all new games into the market, government officials are seriously starting to worry about the country’s growing gaming addiction. In what may be the biggest show of force so far, gaming media giant Twitch was reported to have been booted out of China earlier today.
The source for this news is Abacusnews, and Twitch has confirmed to them that they have been blocked in China. Not only has their app been removed from the App Store, access to their site has also been restricted by the country’s nationwide firewall. Twitch’s response to the situation was merely a confirmation that these actions did indeed occur – they didn’t shed any light onto the reasoning or provide any other further details on the situation.
The Verge has reported that Twitch reached the top 3 spot of the most downloaded apps last month. The idea here is that since the Chinese state-run media decided not to broadcast the popular Asian Games series, gaming enthusiasts seeking to watch the events had to find another way of doing so – Twitch.
From the perspective of Chinese officials, the sudden surge in downloads might have acted as a confirmation of sorts that the country’s growing obsession with gaming needed to be curbed.
In the end, these developments should make it clear for western gaming companies hoping to tap into China’s vast market that getting into the country is anything but easy. Culturally and politically, China is a market unlike any other. Given the recent crackdown on the industry, it probably is best for gaming companies to hold off for a while before attempting to launch anything big.
Will the Chinese government eventually soften up their stance on the gaming industry? It’s hard to say. For all of the Chinese gamers hoping to be able to enjoy the many positive aspects of gaming, let’s hope so.