Two giant gaming companies, Tencent and NetEase, have received a statement from Chinese authorities with new restrictions on game development with the aim that they do not produce titles featuring “effeminate” men. The pejorative term was found in official documents presented by the government and released by the Xinhua news agency last week.
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Chinese government has met with gaming giants — Photo: REUTERS/Thomas Peter
The measure, which would initially be aimed only at China’s television channels, has also extended to the gaming industry. The conversation with Tencent and NetEase was aimed at removing what Chinese officials regard as “abnormal aesthetics” of the games, according to the document obtained by the agency. As a result, developers were asked to add more masculine qualities to the masculine characters.
“The obscene and violent content, and those unhealthy tendencies like money worship and effeminacy, should be removed,” says the report the agency had exclusive access to last week.
The immediate consequence of the controversial measure was reflected in the companies’ actions. On Thursday, just a day after the report became public, Tencent and NetEase saw shares fall 6% and 7% respectively. However, this is not the first time that companies have been challenged by the Chinese government, which is increasingly interfering with the gaming industry.
In late August, the country began to limit the time of underage youth in front of a video game. With the law, they cannot spend more than three hours of game per week, in addition to being able to play only on specific days and with a limitation of one hour each. The determination presented by the authorities is valid for all platforms.
Currently, Tencent owns 100% of Riot Games, a company present in the competitive e-sports scene with titles such as League of Legends, Valorant and Legends of Runeterra. In addition, they also rely heavily on Supercell, the company known for Clash games. Other large companies such as Epic Games (Fortnite), Sea Limited (Free Fire), Krafton (PUBG), Activision Blizzard and Ubisoft are also part of the Chinese giant’s portfolio.