China's most iconic gaming console is the "Red White Machine" otherwise known as a famiclone (knockoff NES or knockoff Famicom) the company that has been producing them in China non-stop for 30 years has just released the 30th Anniversary version of their "Red White Machine", I got my hands on one and decided to talk about how gaming in China has always had a bit of a difficult history.
Video games in China is a massive industry and pastime that includes the production, sale, import/export, and playing of video games. China is the largest and highest grossing (revenues) video game market in the world, since 2015. The landscape of the topic is strongly shaped by China's average income level, rampant software piracy, and governmental measures to control game content and playing times. In 2011, China's PC game sector was worth $6 billion, the largest in the world. Arcade games are also a thriving industry in China. Console games were banned from the country in 2000, but the ban was lifted in July 2015.
In eSports, China has been the top country in terms of tournament winnings, possessing some of the world's best talents across video games.
The Special Administrative Regions of Hong Kong and Macau have unique legal and cultural environments, thus the information below does not apply in these two regions.
As with almost all mass media in the country, video games in China are subject to the policies of censorship in China.
Violating basic principles of the Constitution of the People's Republic of China
Threatening national unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity
Divulging state secrets
Threatening state security
Damaging national sovereignty
Disturbing social order
Infringing upon others' rights
On July 2015, the ban on video game consoles within the country was lifted. According to a statement from the country's Ministry of Culture, companies like Sony, Nintendo, and Microsoft — among others — will now be allowed to manufacture and sell video game consoles anywhere in the country.
Game consoles were first banned in 2000 due to fears that the devices — and the 3D worlds produced by them — had a negative effect on the mental and physical development of children. In 2015, China eased those restrictions by letting game console-makers operate in an experimental 11-square-mile area in Shanghai, known as the free trade zone.
The State General Administration of Press and Publication and anti-porn and illegal publication offices have also played a role in screening games.
Examples of banned games have included:
Hearts of Iron (for "distorting history and damaging China's sovereignty and territorial integrity")
I.G.I.-2: Covert Strike (for "intentionally blackening China and the Chinese army's image")
Command & Conquer: Generals - Zero Hour (for "smearing the image of China and the Chinese army")
Battlefield 4 (for "smearing the image of China and endangering national security")
In addition to banning games completely, several games have had their content screened to remove certain imagery deemed offensive or unfavorable. Common examples include skeletons or skulls being either fleshed out or removed entirely. Cases of which can be seen in Chinese versions of popular video games such as DOTA 2 and World of Warcraft.
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