Thursday, April 24, 2014

China's Rules For Games

Earlier last year China announced that it would look into lifting it's video game console ban, with some caveats and regulations to follow. On Monday, they released those guidelines for game developers and distributors to follow. As early as Friday China may see some legal, non-Black Market stores beginning to carry gaming content to the masses.

The key rules are that any game must be submitted to Shanghai's Ministry of Culture for review, and developers must work with a Chinese domestic partner and run operations from the Shanghai Free Trade Zone. Rough bargain, but I'm sure Nintendo and Sony will be more then willing to handle it to get a piece of a potential billion dollar new market that is about to open up. Nintendo's shares jumped in January at the news that China would lift their console ban. Of all of the systems, Nintendo would be the most family friendly and likely to have games approved with few to no edits in content.

So what will be banned in China?

- Content that violates the basic principles of China’s constitution.

So I guess that means no Battlefield 4. Okay, what else?

- Content that propagates obscenity, gambling, violence or drug-related criminal activities, or that abets a crime.

...wow. So no T to AO content should even bother trying to submit their games. Further reading includes carton violence ala Looney Tunes.

- Content that's contrary to public morality or national cultural traditions.

I'm reading that as "no game made outside of China." Because even something as simple as Cooking Mama still contains content that involves Japanese meals and cooking techniques which vary with what the Chinese use. That could be enough to ban the game in the country.

Devs, I wish you luck on this journey. It sounds like a lot of headaches and restrictions are headed your way.

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