Electronic Arts’ war simulation video game ‘Battlefield 4’ has been banned by the Chinese government following state media complaints that the game was ‘demonizing the image of China in a new form of cultural aggression’.
Wall Street Journal reports:
The Redwood City, Calif., company’s “Battlefield 4” game was banned following the release of a new downloadable storyline, “China Rising.” The new story, set on the Chinese mainland, draws from the premise that a Chinese military leader has decided to attack American forces as part of an attempted coup.
A copy of the official ban was not immediately available, but translations by local blogs indicated that the game had been banned on grounds of “national security” and perceived aggression against the Chinese culture.
Earlier this month, an editorial published in China’s military newspaper Zhongguo Guofangbao criticized the game for “discrediting China’s image abroad and distorting the truth in an effort to mislead young people,” according to SCMP.
“…in recent years, with the boosting of China’s national strength, China threat theories run rampant, and foreign companies are increasingly keen to put the Sino-US conflict in their games as a gimmick to attract attention,” the article read.
Seeing as the company doesn’t sell the product in China, EA doesn’t seem incredibly concerned with the ban and its impact on business. More problematic for the industry is the excessive piracy across the country, Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter said to WSJ.
Video game consoles have been widely banned in China for 13 years now, and most gamers have resorted to buying devices from importers and computer malls, but in the dawn of Shanghai’s new Free Trade Zone, several sources reported that the government was in the talks of lifting the ban. In the beginning of December, China’s Ministry of Culture announced that changes would also be made in the approval process for online and mobile games, possibly loosening regulations on what is considered appropriate content.
Online games released in China have always been heavily stripped by censors. In 2007, “World of Warcraft” game developers were forced to remove all skeletons and undead characters before its debut in China, a process that took months.
Chinese netizens commented on the editorial featured in China’s military magazine, calling it overly critical.
“Games, cartoons and comics do this sort of thing all the time,” one commentator wrote. “Your own country is always the best, and there’s plenty of media out there that discredits its own country of origin as well. To prohibit something like this is futile.”
Ahem, China’s promotion of an ‘American-style’ zombie shooting game.