Gaming giant Epic pulls its popular Fortnite from China over restrictions

American tech giant Epic Games announced the closure in China of its popular survival game Fortnite, months after authorities imposed strict restrictions on the world’s largest market for digital games.

Beijing imposed tough regulations on various industries as part of an effort to tighten its grip on the economy, with tech firms hit the hardest.

In September, authorities said they intend to curb gaming addiction in China by cutting the time minors spend playing online, and ordered players to use an identity card when registering.

The move was a severe blow to companies’ ability to make a profit in the country, causing their share prices to fall.

In response, Epic announced that it will shut down the hugely popular game as of November 15.

“Fortnite China beta testing has come to an end and the servers will be shut down,” the company said in a statement.

“On November 15 … we will shut down the game servers and players will not be able to connect,” he added.

Shares of Chinese consortium Tencent, which has a strong stake in Epic, fell on the Hong Kong stock exchange on Tuesday.

The move ended an extensive test of the version of Fortnite created specifically for the Chinese market, where content is monitored to prevent excessive violence.

The action game, with shooting and building construction, is one of the most popular in the world with more than 350 million users, more than the population of the United States.

Epic is the second US company to withdraw a popular product from China in recent weeks, after Microsoft announced in October the closure of its LinkedIn social network in the Asian country.


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