Fortnite is dying, well at least in China it is. That’s because on the official Fortnite China website it has been confirmed that the site will stop taking new registrations on November 1st and the servers will close for good on November 15th.
The news comes despite major efforts from game designers Epic Games to try and modify their popular Battle Royale title so that it conformed and appealed to the Chinese gaming community.
Despite these efforts, it seems to have been all in vain as the company now intends to pull the plug on its Chinese operation “Fortnite Night”, appropriately enough, in a fortnight.
Many Changes Made To Appease Chinese Regulators
The popular game has been available for four years now and still remains a very popular esports title all around the globe. The top 50 Fortnite players are now amongst the most recognisable names in the gaming and esports industry.
Not only that, but the best Fortnite streamers globally can attract hundreds of thousands of viewers. So with the game in such rude health around the globe, why are Epic shutting down their Chinese operations?
While no official explanation has been forthcoming, it does seem the prohibitive legislation that dictates the Chinese gaming and esports market, combined with recent new rules as to how long children can play computer games for each day have played a significant role.
Modifications Specifically For The Chinese Market
To be fair to Epic, the company has already made significant changes and alterations to the original Fortnite game for it to be legally playable in China.
So much so, that Fortnight Night in China is a strikingly different game to Fortnite played elsewhere across the world.
In Fortnight Night, you cannot purchase V-Bucks as the Chinese state has made any form of microtransactions illegal in the country. It is a contentious issue and one that means many developers, who can make considerably more from microtransactions than from the sale of the original game, are not viewing the Chinese market as part of their long term plans.
Other changes include the banning or altering of certain skins and the alteration of certain graphics in the game to ensure the game did not offend Chinese sensibilities.
However, the changes were more than simply cosmetic. In Fortnight Night, the players are essentially avatars in a simulation. It is also not the last standing person that wins. In the Chinese version of the game, any player still alive in the game after 20 minutes is declared a winner.
Despite these major modifications, it seems Epic are still set to pull the plug and the deciding factor may well be the Chinese government’s attitude and new legislation brought in for the gaming industry.
Big Tech Crackdown In China Hits Gaming Industry Hard
The Chinese state has cracked down hard on many aspects of the gaming industry in the past twelve months.
A number of tech companies have been fined billions of dollars, cryptocurrency services have been declared illegal in the country, while the government has also brought in some worrying new data privacy rules across the country.
Children are now being told that they can only play games for no more than three hours a week.
The situation is so bad that Chinese State media have called video games “spiritual opium”.
Now when a player has played a game for 180 minutes in a day, a message appears on screen stating:
“You have been playing for 3 hours, exp rate has dropped 50%, challenges disabled, for your health please take a rest immediately, please also arrange your studies/learning time.”
So it seems Epic are following that advice, disabling its Fortnite Night challenges and taking a rest, for the time being at least, from the Chinese market.