Gaming giant Epic pulls Fortnite from China over crackdown

This illustration picture shows Epic Games' Fortnite loading on a smartphone. AFP/Chris Delmas

BEIJING - US tech giant Epic Games has said it will shut down its popular survival game "Fortnite" in China, months after authorities imposed a series of strict curbs on the world's biggest gaming market as part of a sweeping crackdown on the technology sector.

Beijing has embarked on a wide-ranging regulatory clampdown on a number of industries in a drive to tighten its control of the economy, with tech firms taking the brunt.

In September, officials said they wanted to curb addiction in the gaming-mad nation by announcing drastic cuts to the amount of time children can spend playing online, and ordering players to use ID cards when registering.

Now, Epic has pulled the plug on "Fortnite", saying it will shut down the massively popular game on November 15.

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"Fortnite China's Beta test has reached an end, and the servers will be closed soon," it said in a statement Sunday.

"On November 15 at 11am, we will turn off game servers, and players will no longer be able to log in."

The move brings an end to a long-running test of Epic's version of "Fortnite" specifically created for the Chinese market, where content is policed for excessive violence.

The Chinese test version was released in 2018, but "Fortnite" never received the government's green light to be formally launched and monetised as approvals for new games slowed. 

The action-packed shooter and world-building game is one of the most popular in the world, boasting more than 350 million users.


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