Technology

Epic Games removes Fortnite from China due to restrictions

While China adopts restrictive anti-gaming measures, the booming market and a huge contingent of gamers in Latin America make the region even more attractive for big players

Fortnite was a hit game developed by Epic Games. Image: Screenshot
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  • Beijing has imposed stringent regulations on various industries as part of an effort to tighten its control over the economy;
  • In September, authorities said they intended to curb China’s gaming addiction by reducing the time young people are allowed to spend playing online;
  • The government also asked players to use their identity cards when registering for the game so that they could be identified.

U.S. tech giant Epic Games announced on Sunday on its website the withdrawal of its popular game Fortnite from China, only some months after authorities imposed restrictions on the world’s biggest market for digital games. In the statement, the company said it will end Fortnite’s beta-testing in the country and shut down its servers on November 15. While China adopts restrictive anti-gaming measures, the booming market and a huge contingent of gamers in Latin America make the region even more attractive for big players.

READ ALSO: Beijing’s recent moves to curb Big Tech players makes LatAm’s booming market even more enticing

Beijing has imposed stringent regulations on various industries as part of an effort to tighten its control over the economy. In September, authorities said they intended to curb China’s gaming addiction by reducing the time young people are allowed to spend playing online. The government also asked players to use their identity cards when registering for the game so that they could be identified.

Ironically, while President Xi Jinping is exerting more social control over its citizens at home, China continues to invest heavily in Latin America. And, while gaming time is limited for gamers under 18 years old in China, Latin America’s gaming market continues to grow. As of last summer, Latin America’s mobile-gaming market was valued at $3.5 billion, according to a joint report from Google and Newzoo published in late July.

READ ALSO: Who plays video games in Brazil?

Today Brazil is one of the main world markets for the games industry because it has a high volume of players and about 72% of Brazilians say they play digital games, according to GoGamers – a business unit of Pesquisa Game Brasil that surveys the sector. This percentage is close to other LatAm countries, but it is important to highlight the volume of the gaming population, mainly leveraged by smartphones.

“Currently, smartphone games are the platform of choice in Brazil for 41% of our respondents in our last survey,” said Carlos Silva, Head of Gaming at GoGamers, to LABS some weeks ago. “We have games like Free Fire, which is a phenomenon. In addition to the game being free to play and running on different types of devices, from the simplest to the most modern, Free Fire has built a very robust ecosystem for its community. Today, in addition to being a casual game, Free Fire is a game for the hardcore gamer, as it presents a competitive scenario and, therefore, creates good expectations for these players.” 

In the next few years, all this potential is expected to grow quickly with the introduction of 5G and internet penetration rising across the continent.

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