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Fortnite leaves China after video game restrictions

The popular video game Fortnite, with millions of users around the world, will withdraw from China to the annoyance of its fans in that country, whose authorities imposed strict rules on the digital games sector.

In just two weeks, the trial version of this survival game in China, which had been adapted specifically for this market, will no longer be available, announced its American publisher, the giant Epic.

“Fortnite China beta testing has come to an end and servers will be shut down“Said the company in a statement.

On November 15 (…) we will shut down the game servers and players will not be able to connect”He added.

Fortnite is one of the most popular video games in the world with more than 350 million users, more than the population of the United States.

It is a participatory game in which users interact online in a hostile environment. Although they act as a group, the goal is to be the last survivor.

It’s free to download but earns billions of dollars of revenue from player purchases to add extra elements to their characters.

In China, Epic had launched a version specifically for the Chinese market with a tight grip on violent, obscene or politically sensitive elements.

Since Monday, this version no longer accepts new players, said the company, which has among its shareholders the Chinese digital giant Tencent.

-3 hours of play per week-

Although Epic did not detail the reasons for its decision, it comes after China imposed strong regulations on various industries, especially technology firms, in order to strengthen its control over the economy.

The video game sector, very lucrative in China but also criticized for the addiction it generates in young people, was not left out.

In August, authorities said they intend to curb this addiction and limited the time that those under 18 can play online to three hours a week.

To control it, he ordered players to use an identity card when registering.

The move was a severe blow to companies’ ability to make a profit in the country, causing their share prices to fall.

Many Chinese players lamented on the internet the announcement of the closure of Fortnite in their country.

We did not expect it”Said a young woman on the social network Weibo, the Chinese equivalent of Twitter.

I cry with all the tears in my body. I play with my boyfriend and I was dying to see what was going to happen”He added.

Others were annoyed at losing the evolution of their characters to which they had dedicated many hours of play and asked Epic Games to allow their data to be transferred to servers outside the country.

They carry “our heart and our soul”Said a petition that was circulating on social media.

-Banning of consoles in 2000-

Fortnite is the third sounded exit in the technological world of China in a matter of a month.

The US search engine Yahoo, one of the most popular in the early days of the Internet, announced on Tuesday the end of its activities in the Asian giant, as a result of the “increasingly difficult commercial and legal environment.”

Yahoo, which had launched a search engine in the country in 1999, had already drastically reduced its presence in China since shutting down its messaging service in 2013.

In October, Microsoft announced that it was shutting down its professional social network LinkedIn citing a “difficult environment.”

The computer giant had been one of the few American companies to manage to operate a social network in China despite censorship. Twitter or Facebook, for example, are not available in the Asian giant.

And in 2014, Microsoft was also the first foreign firm to re-enter the huge Chinese video game market with its Xbox One.

14 years earlier, the communist authorities had suspended the sale of all consoles due to the alleged negative effects on “mental health” of young people. They are still readily available today, but clandestinely.

Launched in 2017, Fortnite quickly became a global phenomenon, with some games currently being watched live by millions of viewers.

Its editors are increasingly lending themselves to collaborations with celebrities who appear in the game in avatar form such as the American singer Ariana Grande or the Brazilian soccer player Neymar.


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