China continues to find ways to impose video game-related bans in the country. However, while most regulations aren't directed at any specific title, the latest ban seems to single out PUBG: Battlegrounds. In particular, the ban targets the esports portion of the popular battle royale title, with China's National Press and Publication Administration (NAPP) yet to approve PUBG.
China continues to crack down on gaming all over the country
China's video game market is worth billions of dollars. Yet, despite this success, it appears that the Chinese government is committed to tightening its grip on the industry. Case in point, China recently imposed a law the restricted the playing time of minors. However, the latest crackdown has had a direct effect on PUBG Esports, and although PUBG remains legal to play in China, the law prohibits its esports leg from operating.
A report from the Sports Business Journal claims that Yibo Zhang, the Vice President of China Culture Management Association Esports Committee has stated that the NAPP hasn't approved PUBG yet. Because of this, the esports side of PUBG will need to shut down until further notice. Zhang explained that the ban will affect the entire PUBG community, even if the ban is just focused on competitions.
As video games become more popular and lucrative, governments around the world are struggling to understand how they fit in the economy. While the gaming industry generates billions of dollars across the globe in revenue every year, there is a dark side to it. For example, video game addiction and loot box mechanics are real issues. China is reportedly trying to nip these problems in the bud.
It will be interesting to see what comes out of the latest government regulation. Several big companies that are based in China own major stakes in popular games. For example, Tencent owns a partial stake in PUBG and has full ownership of Riot Games, the developers behind League of Legends and VALORANT.
For now, we can expect this decision to come with some pushback. Esports have become a livelihood for a lot of people. Professional PUBG players, in particular, are looking forward to competing at the PUBG Global Championship 2021 later this year for a chance at the $2 million prize pool. Even if the tournament is going to be held in Incheon, South Korea, we doubt fans will be happy not seeing their favorite professional Chinese players competing.