After Banning Animal Crossing: New Horizons, China Seems Set To Cut Off Chinese Gamers From The Rest Of The Gaming Community

After Banning Animal Crossing: New Horizons, China Seems Set To Cut Off Chinese Gamers From The Rest Of The Gaming Community
Credit: Isabelle via Good Smile Company

Some sad news has come out of the gaming community today. It seems that China will be broadening their censorship and restriction tactics to extend into the gaming community more fully, making it so that Chinese players are only able to play with other Chinese players rather than interacting with players abroad.

Part of this seems inspired by recent news of the CCP deciding to ban Animal Crossing: New Leaf in their nation after it apparently became a platform for propaganda. In specific, a Hong Kong pro-democracy activist by the name of Joshua Wong customized their island with a number of pro-Hong Kong messages, as well as mocking the current Chinese president, Xi Jinping.

Unfortunately, both of these are things that China’s government is very against, and the game was swiftly banned as a whole as others joined in on Wong’s activism. Now, it seems that China’s government has decided that there’s more to be done in the censorship of games.

According to an article written by Taiwan News’ Sophia Yang, it seems that the CCP is looking to disconnect Chinese online gamers from players abroad. “The communist regime is said to have noticed an authority vacuum in online multiplayer games, which enables people to freely socialize without monitoring,” Yang writes. “Local metropolises are scrambling to draft laws to expand the scope of online censorship in video games and even prohibit gamers from meeting and chatting with people on the other side of the Great Firewall.”

There are a number of other repercussions at play here, sadly. The CCP has a strict and overwhelming amount of monitoring and surveillance over the online community within China, but it obviously lacks the authority to shut down or censor players in other nations. Because of this, online games are often used to spread news from within China – which is quite often critical of China’s government, with their response to the COVID-19 pandemic being a great area of focus lately. This’ll also impair the ability to get news to China that the government is censoring.

Single-player games will also be targeted for surveillance, and censorship will extend to roleplaying games, map editing games (where people can edit maps to show anti-CCP messages), and even union organization in games. There are censorships going over things such as zombies and plagues, which some have dismissed as a cultural difference in the way death is depicted, but seems to almost certainly be related to the COVID-19 criticisms.