Gaming

Animal Crossing: New Horizons unavailable in China due to ‘offensive’ content


The Chinese government has banned retailers from selling imported copies of the game (pic: Nintendo)

Chinese fans had been importing copies of the new Animal Crossing, but a major online retailer is now no longer allowed to sell it.

Excitement for Animal Crossing: New Horizons was at an all-time high when it was announced, and it only continued to grow in popularity upon its release, with seemingly everyone and their grandma getting a copy of it.

However, it seems that the game has been unofficially banned in China, or more specifically, can no longer be sold. This first seemed to originate from a fan-made Twitter account that covers Nintendo news for Chinese audiences, which was then shared on forum ResetEra.

According to them, all Animal Crossing merchandise listings had to be taken down. As often seems to be the case in these situations though, no official reason was given. However, fans think they know what’s going on…

New Horizons allows players to create their own in-game designs for things like clothing, wallpapers, and art displays. It is suspected that some players had been creating designs that were deemed to be offensive to Chinese leaders.

Again, this hasn’t been confirmed or acknowledged by the Chinese government, but it’s no surprise that people would jump to that conclusion, especially since players in Hong Kong were using the game as a new means of protesting against the government.

Josh Ye, a journalist for the South China Morning Post, corroborated the news about the ban, but further extrapolated some details, specifically that New Horizons technically wasn’t being sold in China in the first place.

Despite the Animal Crossing series’ popularity in China, Nintendo’s Chinese partner Tencent had yet to receive approval by the government to distribute the game.

Thus, fans resorted to importing the title from outside the country, which in and of itself isn’t illegal. Or at least it wasn’t.

Daniel Ahmad, a senior analyst that covers the gaming market in China, broke down the situation in full on his own Twitter account.

According to him, Taobao, an online retailer that’s been described as the Chinese equivalent of eBay, used to sell imported copies of the game. Now, the website has removed any mention of it.

He also confirmed that the ban order came from China regulators and that it is an old policy that has rarely been imposed except on select games, namely ones that contain in-game or user-generated content deemed offensive or are very popular.

However, while the game can no longer be sold in China, those who already own it can still play it and it is still possible to download it digitally.

As for whether New Horizons will ever see an official Chinese release, Ahmad did say that while it’s possible it won’t happen, Minecraft – which also allows players to create their own content – has been approved for release.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons is available exclusively on Switch.

Email gamecentral@metro.co.uk, leave a comment below, and follow us on Twitter.

MORE: Animal Crossing: New Horizons first Fishing Tournament scheduled for this weekend

MORE: Animal Crossing: New Horizons teases Brewster and the coffee shop

MORE: Animal Crossing Bunny Day event far from egg-cellent, update fixes overabundance of eggs

Follow Metro Gaming on Twitter and email us at gamecentral@metro.co.uk

For more stories like this, check our Gaming page.





READ SOURCE

READ  Battlefield 5's custom "Community Games" servers go live tomorrow

Leave a Reply