You may have heard about the Chinese IGN Restrictions coming into play, but what’s actually happening? Chinese Regulations are aiming to release a new Citizen Verification System which will monitor video game usage, amongst other factors. This will force Chinese players to log-in to games using their real names.
Abacus reported recently that this Citizen Verification System, (which isn’t the real name), was announced last Friday during ChinaJoy. ChinaJoy is the country’s largest Video Game Expo and the System was announced by the State’s Media Department.
Feng Shixin, Communist Party Central Publicity Department Official, announced that when the System is released game developers will be asked to join in waves. Tencent and NetEase are reportedly on board with their own systems similar to this, however, there is no word on whether this new Official System will replace those.
Chinese IGN Restrictions Aren’t A New Conversation Being Had
These kinds of restrictions have been talked about for some time, with Chinese Government Officials stating that it will be beneficial in protecting minors. However, many believe that this is as much about censorship as it is about protecting Chinese Citizens.
Groups on the internet are labeling the series of restrictions “The Great Firewall Of China” and it is just the latest in a series of actions that draw criticism from the Western World. Animal Crossing Sales were banned recently due to players creating “Free Hong Kong” media in-game. In addition to this, Blizzard banned a pro-player last year surrounding the controversial “Hong Kong” situation. Blizzard games are immensely popular in China, and The Pro expressed their support for pro-democracy Hong Kong protests. This was done after winning a Taiwanese Hearthstone tournament. You can read his statement regarding all this here.
Either way, these restrictive measures don’t seem to have impacted the Chinese Video Game Industry. Last Thursday, the China Game Industry Report reported that Chinese game sales are up 22% in 2020. So far, anyway. This values it at $19.9 Billion!