Gaming giant Epic is retiring from Fortnite China due to repression

Epic said it will pull its massively popular survival game Fortnite from China, the world's largest gaming market, later this month

Epic said it will pull its massively popular survival game Fortnite from China, the world’s largest gaming market, later this month

BEIJING – US tech giant Epic Games has said it will shut down its popular survival game Fortnite in China, months after authorities imposed a series of stringent restrictions on the world’s largest gaming market as part of widespread repression of the technology sector.

Beijing has embarked on a comprehensive regulatory containment of a number of industries as part of an effort to tighten its control over the economy, with technology companies taking the bulk of the pain.

In September, officials said they wanted to curb gambling addiction in the nation by announcing drastic cuts in the amount of time children spend playing online and ordering players to use ID cards when registering.

The measures were a serious blow to the companies ‘ability to generate profits in the country and caused the gaming companies’ share prices to fall.

Now, Epic has pulled the plug and said it will shut down the hugely popular game on November 15th.

“Fortnite China’s Beta Test has come to an end and the servers will be shut down soon,” a statement said. “On November 15th at 11am, we will turn off game servers and players will no longer be able to log in.”

Hong Kong-listed shares of Tencent, which has a large stake in Epic, fell on Tuesday.

The move brings an end to a lengthy test of Epic’s version of Fortnite, created specifically for the Chinese market, where content is politicized for excessive violence.

The action-packed shooter and world-building game is one of the most popular in the world and boasts more than 350 million users – more than the population of the United States.

Epic is the second US-based company to pull a popular product from China in recent weeks, after Microsoft announced in October that it would close its career-oriented social network LinkedIn.

In September, hundreds of Chinese video game makers, including Tencent, promised to better police their products for “politically harmful” content and enforce restrictions on underage gamers as they appeared to fall in line with government demands.

The 213 gaming companies promised in a joint statement to ban content that was “politically harmful, historically nihilistic, dirty and pornographic, bloody and intimidating”.

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