Fortnite Hits The Wall
Bloomberg Businessweek|November 22 - 29, 2021
○ China wants kids playing fewer video games, which is bad news for the companies making them
Zheping Huang, with Karoline Kan

Epic Games Inc. spent 2018 preparing Fortnite, the world’s hottest video game, for a blockbuster debut in China, the world’s biggest gaming market. When the company released the multiplayer shooter a year earlier, it had already brought in more than $1 billion worldwide. Chinese tech giant Tencent Holdings Ltd., an Epic investor and Fortnite’s local publisher, sought to replicate the success in its home country. Things started off on an optimistic note, with 10 million Chinese gamers pre-registering that summer to get access to the game. But it never fully launched in China, and on Nov. 15, Epic shut down Fortnite’s servers in the country, concluding a three-year trial from which it never made a dime.

New video games need government approvals to premiere and sell copies or virtual items in China, and the licensing process is increasingly stringent and often unpredictable. This year has been particularly difficult—the government hasn’t authorized a new gaming release in more than 100 days.

The freeze comes at a time when Beijing has said it wants to more closely scrutinize the impact video games have on children. In September the government capped children’s playing time to three hours per week in most cases, encouraging them to instead spend more time outdoors and leaving enforcement largely to companies. In one article this summer, a state-owned media outlet decried the “spiritual opium” of gaming. Although it later distanced itself from such loaded language, the government has made clear it wants video games to be brought under control.

That sentiment corresponds with President Xi Jinping’s yearlong campaign to rein in large technology companies, which has both economic and social objectives. New rules target everything from education and e-commerce to finance, entertainment, and the gig economy, rattling investors and cowing the country’s billionaires. For companies eager to tap into China’s enormous population of young gamers, prospects that were already shaky look worse than ever.

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

MORE STORIES FROM BLOOMBERG BUSINESSWEEKView All

Covid's Unseen Victims

Extra duties and depleted ranks have pharmacy workers buckling under the pressure

6 mins read
Bloomberg Businessweek
January 31, 2022

Need a Hug?

Speculative assets lead a market selloff, but corporate cash could put a floor under prices

9 mins read
Bloomberg Businessweek
January 31, 2022

BIG HOT SAUCE WANTS MORE HOT SAUCE

McCormick, the 132-year-old prince of pumpkin spice, paragon of tarragon, major-domo of marjoram, has taken over an entirely new category

10+ mins read
Bloomberg Businessweek
January 31, 2022

It's Tricky

American-born Eileen Gu is the face of China’s winter sports initiative, a sponsor’s dream, and a teenage daredevil who’s being very careful with controversy

10+ mins read
Bloomberg Businessweek
January 31, 2022

Do Niche News Sites Have The Secret to Success?

Spiffy online news outlets are hot again. Every month seems to welcome a new publication built on an established journalist’s existing audience.

2 mins read
Bloomberg Businessweek
January 31, 2022

Peering Behind An 18% Yield

Celsius promises big rewards if you let it hold your crypto. The risks you’re taking aren’t clear

8 mins read
Bloomberg Businessweek
January 31, 2022

Stealthy Healthy

Purveyors of clean food are trying a new tactic: Subterfuge.

5 mins read
Bloomberg Businessweek
January 31, 2022

No place to get sick

In the Mississippi Delta, the stress on hospitals, doctors, and nurses— and patients—just won’t let up

10+ mins read
Bloomberg Businessweek
January 31, 2022

Running on Neutral

The latest craze in South Korea involves getting your brain to do as little as possible

3 mins read
Bloomberg Businessweek
January 31, 2022

When Hackers Get to the Grid

Drills on a high-security island show the potential devastation of a cyberattack on U.S. power infrastructure

9 mins read
Bloomberg Businessweek
January 31, 2022
RELATED STORIES

BEATS STUDIO BUDS ‘YEAR OF THE TIGER'

beatsbydre.com

1 min read
Macworld
February 2022

Bullying Tactics

China is trying to force trading partners to toe its line on Taiwan. The U.S. and EU must fight back

5 mins read
Newsweek
January 28 - February 04, 2022

REPORT: MANDATORY OLYMPIC APP HAS SERIOUS SECURITY FLAWS

A smartphone app that athletes and others attending next month’s Winter Games in Beijing must install has glaring security problems that could expose sensitive data to interception, according to a report published this week.

2 mins read
AppleMagazine
AppleMagazine #534

The Hottest Kitchen Tip? Freezing

FOOD for Thought

2 mins read
Reader's Digest US
February 2022

CHINA'S QUEST TO TAKE TAIWAN

CHINESE OFFICIALS HAVE started directing citizens to stock up on food amid rising vegetable, egg, and pork prices. Encouraging people to become preppers could just be how the Chinese government expresses concern about cold snaps and potential future COVID-19 lockdowns. But some fear it’s a more sinister sign, indicating that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) wants people to prepare for the growing threat of war.

3 mins read
Reason magazine
February 2022

The Jail Money Trap

The Museum of Chinese in America was desperate to buy its building. The city found a reason to pay for it— one that threw Chinatown into a years-long fight.

10+ mins read
New York magazine
December 20, 2021 - January 02, 2022

CHINA CLEARS BOEING 737 MAX TO FLY AGAIN

China’s aviation regulator cleared the Boeing 737 Max on Thursday to return to flying with technical upgrades more than two years after the plane was grounded worldwide following two fatal crashes.

2 mins read
Techlife News
Techlife News #527

JAPAN, VIETNAM LOOK TO CYBER DEFENSE AGAINST CHINA

Japan and Vietnam signed a cybersecurity agreement as the two Asian nations rapidly step up their military ties amid concerns over China’s growing assertiveness.

2 mins read
Techlife News
27, November 2021

HOW TO DEAL WITH ANGER AND ENEMIES

In their ongoing dialogues, THEOPHILE THE ELDER and THEO THE YOUNGER continue to explore aspects of human behavior and self-development. Here they discuss some strategies for dealing with enemies, injustice, and managing anger.

6 mins read
Heartfulness eMagazine
November 2021

YAHOO PULLS OUT OF CHINA, CITING ‘CHALLENGING' ENVIRONMENT

Yahoo Inc. said this week it has pulled out of China, citing an increasingly challenging operating environment.

2 mins read
Techlife News
Techlife News #523