“Fortnite”: three years after its launch, the Chinese version of the phenomenon game stops

The phenomenon game Fortnite, which has 350 million online followers worldwide, will withdraw from China, announced its publisher, Epic Games. “On November 15 at 11 am, we will shut down the game servers and players [en Chine] will no longer be able to connect “, wrote the American company Sunday, October 31 in a statement. The next day, it was impossible for new players to register from China.

The move comes as China’s tightening of the screws on digital uses and video games has accelerated for a year, and more so since this summer. Since the end of August, the practice of online video games has been prohibited for minors during the week, and limited to three hours on weekends.

The Chinese digital giant Tencent, the second shareholder of Epic Games (also majority owned by its founder, the American Tim Sweeney), is particularly proactive in this area, having imposed the use of facial recognition in July. to prohibit children and adolescents from playing on their smartphone or tablet in the evening.

A version of the game approved by the Chinese government

Launched in 2017, Fortnite is a game called “battle royale”, in which one hundred participants are parachuted onto an island and compete against each other to become the last survivor. With its colors, its graphics that evoke those of a cartoon and its funny references to pop culture, the game from Epic Games, very mainstream, is a million miles from the realism of other more adult military shooters. To the point of attracting the attention of artists, like Ariana Grande or Travis Scott, or athletes, like Neymar, who have already appeared there in the form of avatars during virtual events.

Yet, launched in spring 2018, the Chinese version of Fortnite differs in many aspects from the version distributed in the rest of the world. The game balance has been revised to encourage short games, and several logos, items, weapons and character clothing have been redesigned to remove references to death, skulls and bones. In the Chinese version of what is fundamentally a shooting game, players are also explained that they do not play warriors clashing with guns, but holograms immersed in a simulation.

The main difference, however, is that if in the rest of the world Fortnite Most of its income comes from the sale of additional content, such as outfits and dance moves for their characters, the Chinese version of the game does not offer this kind of “microtransactions”, yet at the heart of Epic Games’ business model .

The Yahoo portal, the former Internet nugget in the 2000s, announced on Tuesday that it was also ceasing its activities in China, due to a “Increasingly difficult commercial and legal environment”. For the same reasons, Microsoft’s professional social network LinkedIn also announced last month its upcoming withdrawal from China.

The World with AFP

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“Fortnite”: three years after its launch, the Chinese version of the phenomenon game stops