Epic Games Shutting Down Fortnite in China


Epic Games shut down the China-based servers for the popular multiplayer online game Fortnite on Monday (Nov. 15), ending a quest that dates back about three years to bring the game to the world’s largest gaming market, according to a Bloomberg report.

Last-player-standing combat game Fortnite never fully launched in China, despite 10 million Chinese gamers pre-registering for access to the game and Tencent Holdings Ltd.’s push to launch the game across the country after bringing in $1 billion around the world on the game.

The licensing process for new video games is “increasingly stringent and often unpredictable” in China, according to the Bloomberg report, which notes that the Chinese government hasn’t authorized a new game to be released in more than 100 days. The Chinese government limits children’s game-playing time to three hours a week, and President Xi Jinping is continuing his fight against large tech companies in China.

The Chinese gaming market is projected to be worth $46 billion this year, compared to $3 billion in North America, according to research from Newzoo cited by Bloomberg. Less than 100 of the 1,400 games that earned licenses in China in 2020 were imported from other companies, according to data tracker Statista, down from 9,000 licenses issued in 2017.

Related news: Epic Games to Shut Down Chinese Version of Fortnite

In August, China began restricting people under 18 years of age to an hour of online gaming on Fridays, weekends and holidays. Fortress Night, the Chinese version of Fortnite, reportedly had several changes from the original version, a fairly common practice for games imported into China. The government added measures to ensure that players couldn’t spend too much time playing the game, including banning “micro-transactions” that let players buy in-game items with real money.

Epic Games has also been involved in an ongoing lawsuit against Apple focused on Epic Games’ use of an in-game payment mechanism that Apple said violated App Store rules.