China Forms Online Gaming Ethics Commission

High-level regulatory activities have made 2018 a hard year for China’s entertainment industry. Of course, the film industry was rocked with the scandal of Fan Bingbing’s tax evasion, a controversy that continues to reverberate across the world of A-list screen celebrities. It’s also been a tough year for the online gaming industry in China, with regular crackdowns on “inappropriate” content and the appointment, last week, of a brand-new regulatory body to oversee this sector of the mobile entertainment economy.

Until recently, online games in China were regulated by three separate government bodies: the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT), the now-defunct State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SAPPRFT), and the Ministry of Culture(MOC). A game hoping to secure release in China needed to apply for a license from SAPPRFT on the copyright side, and an approval from MIIT to offer online services. Then, once the game went online, it was ultimately under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Culture.

The three authorities found themselves in conflict at times. For example, both SAPPRFT and MOC claimed the power to suspend World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade from running in China for operating without a license. In addition, under increasingly strict censorship, gamers had to accept that the dead bodies in the Chinese version of BioShock 2 were depicted as boxes, and that the blood in DIABLO Ⅲ on Chinese servers ran black instead of red.

It was not ideal, but nothing could really stop thousands of new online games — especially mobile games — from getting licenses and launching on the Chinese internet every month. The last few years have marked a peak of prosperity for China’s mobile gaming industry, which is dominated by Tencent’s 2015 title Arena Of ValorPlayerunknown’s Battlegrounds, NetEase’s newly-popular Knives Out, and a plethora of imitators.

Things began to change early this year. Read the full story on RADII.


– This story originally appeared on