In mid-November, Epic Games, the creators of Fortnite, will shut down the battle royale in China (via CNET). According to a translated message on Fortnite’s website, the game’s “test” has “came to an end.”
Starting Monday, gamers will no longer be able to join up for Fortnite or download it, according to the message. Epic Games will totally shut down Fortnite’s servers and prevent anyone from logging in on November 15th. The note expresses gratitude to participants for “boarding the bus” and taking part in the game. Epic did not disclose any other information on why the game was shut down.
It might, however, be related to China’s new gaming limitation for youngsters, which began in August and limits children under the age of 18 to three hours of video game play each week. Online games were also referred to as “spiritual opium” by state-controlled media, reflecting China’s distrust of gaming.
China banned children from gaming between the hours of 10 p.m. and 8 a.m. in 2019 and limited children’s screen usage to 90 minutes on weekdays. Tencent, a Chinese internet company, has even built a facial recognition system that detects children gaming after curfew. With China’s new three-hour regulation, the country’s limits are only tightening.
Epic Games worked with Tencent to offer Fortnite in China in 2018, but it had to be heavily modified before it could be widely distributed. A wiki page for Fortnite China demonstrates how different the game is from what American gamers are used to. Chinese legislation, for example, prohibits the representation of skulls, altering the look of a variety of skull-related cosmetics. On weekdays, gamers were prompted to study if they played more than 90 minutes, according to the wiki.