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Owing to the multitude of laws and regulations that the country’s government has for entertainment media from overseas, the Chinese version of Fortnite was very different to the more mainstream version that is available in the west. For example, this Fortnite was only playable through a Chinese Internet provider and so could not be accessed from anywhere else in the world.
Moreover, skins that use skulls or exposed bone were altered as it is illegal to depict dead bodies or blood in a video game. There were also exclusive cosmetics that celebrated the Lunar New Year and a number of specific gameplay changes.
A longstanding opinion about young people and video games is that they trigger violence later in life. Check out our explainer that uses multiple studies that show this simply isn’t the case.
The Communist Party of China is extremely concerned with the potential that online games have for addiction in children and young people. As a result, there is a law that was passed to prevent those under the age of 18 years old from playing for more than 90 minutes per day on weekdays and three hours on weekends. The Chinese version of Fortnite awarded players no experience points if they play past these limits even if they completed challenges or secured a Victory Royale.
Additionally, the game offered the opportunity for players who had a high number of eliminations in a match to forfeit but still count the game as a Victory Royale on their Career. Consequently, the player would play more matches in the limited time that they have. And, all matches ended once 20 minutes had elapsed, giving all of the surviving players a Victory Royale.
While there is no stated reason for Fortnite’s shutdown in China, it could be tied to the government’s renewed restrictions on online games and especially those from outside of the country. Reports showed that young people are actually able to circumvent the measures like time limits and using their legal name by renting adult accounts for their favourite games.
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