China’s Gaming Crackdown – Why Blizzard is Fucked

Remember that kid in high school, the one that was so obsessed with that one edgy goth girl that he burned bridges with anyone else just to have sex with her? But then it turned out the girl already had like 2 boyfriends so the kid ended up being that guy that no one really liked no matter how hard he tried to win them back? I know because my editor was that kid, and Blizzard is that kid now too, so we can all laugh at both of them now.

   A few days ago, Chinese officials have started cracking down on minors playing videogames. There will be a ban of online videogames for minors between 10 PM and 8 AM. Minors are also restricted to 90 minutes of game time everyday except for national holidays, which will be three hours. For online microtransactions it’s capped at $28-$57 a month, depending on your age. Right now this sounds like a boomer’s wet dream, but it gets worse. China also plans to set rules for adult gamers too, as everyone regardless of age will be prohibited from playing videogames that depict sex, gore, violence or gambling. Well that just knocks off every videogame there is in that case, yet it gets even worse. A government statement was issued saying:

     “The State Administration of Press and Publication is working with the Ministry of Public Security to lead the building of a unified identification system, which would provide user identification services to video game companies, so that they can accurately verify the identity of minors… We are gaming time data sharing across platforms, so we could know and therefore restrict the total time every minor spends on gaming across platforms.”

Essentially they’ll be improving their identification of minors playing online games to keep track exactly when they play and how long for, so they can very easily enforce all of these new rules. Now, I’m all for proper parenting and limiting your kid to not spend an ungodly amount of money or spending every hour playing Fortnite, but these limitations are absolutely ridiculous. What can you even do in 90 minutes?

   Now I think you all know where Blizzard ties into this. Ever since they’ve been bowing down to Chinese Totalitarianism in favor of their massive market, Blizzard has taken every step to make sure that Hong Kong or Uighurs are ever mentioned by their players’ account or WoW character names, punishing any pro players mentioning Hong Kong into the bloody sun and spending so much time covering it all up and hiding in a corner, all for the Chinese market to now close by a huge margin. Hearthstone will hardly be available for microtransactions, Chinese kids can’t play WoW nor Overwatch and Diablo games won’t be available in Chinese at any ages. Not only that but many Activision games are also off the board. The entire Blizzard catalog has been hit pretty hard as all their games depict some form of violence, require a large part of your day to keep up and require microtransaction payment one way or another.

   So now Blizzard has clearly chosen the wrong side and are now going to pay dearly for it. Every one of their games will not be profitable in China at all, and they’re not going to be nearly as profitable in the west because they have shown that they don’t care about values at all. Hopefully this makes Blizzard look back to the west and other parts in the east and actually set things right. They can’t make a profit in China now, so they’ll have no choice but to go back to quality or go under.

Or not, they’re Blizzard and they rarely give a shit anymore.