The Chinese government now regards video games as an art form, which will be subject to very specific criteria to be accepted in the territory, under penalty of censorship.
The Chinese government has once again tightened the screws in the video game industry, reveals a note published by the Chinese newspaper South China Morning Post.
According to this note, released during a prevention act by a state association linked to video games, Beijing has redefined the acceptance criteria for the production of a video game. The video game, which was previously an object of culture, is now considered by the Chinese government as “an art form”, which must convey “a certain number of appropriate values”.
The regulatory bodies in charge of accepting or not the production and commercialization of games have therefore issued a very strict list of these values, according to the note broadcast by the newspaper.
Female characters and gay romances
“If regulators cannot directly distinguish the gender of a character, then that will be considered problematic and they will be alerted,” the memo said. Likewise, “effeminate” characters or even homosexual romances have a good chance of falling under the ax of censorship. A male character who dresses and behaves like a woman will “ask questions.”
On the other hand, everything related to violence, superstition, gambling or even that may incite to break the law will be prohibited. The same fate is reserved for the post-apocalyptic universes, “where one dares to kill.”
“Some games have a fuzzy morale. Players can choose between good and bad, but we do not think that kind of choice should be allowed,” the note said.
History and religion
Among the sensitive issues, there is also religion: the appearance of crucifixes will be, for example, “highly regulated.” Scenarios that “change the course of history, especially if Japan or Nazi Germany are involved” are also closely watched.
For several months, video games have been closely monitored by the Chinese government, either in terms of content or consumption. Chinese teens are now only allowed three hours of online play per week, they can no longer stream their game live, and have specific hours to adhere to. To enforce these rules, some publishers opt for identity verification using facial recognition.