China's New Game Freeze Could Impact Loot Box Regulation

Jason Winter
By Jason Winter, News Editor August 17, 2018
Share:

If you've been following gaming industry sites over the past week, you've probably heard about what's going on in China -- or, more specifically, what's not going on there. The country pulled Monster Hunter: World from sale and, more unusually, China's Ministry of Culture apparently hasn't approved any games for digital sales since March 28.

The official reasoning behind MHW's removal was a "large number of complaints" regarding the game, but some analysts think that there's some "bureaucratic infighting" going on behind the scenes between the various regulatory bodies that's hitting MHW and every other potential new release in China. It may not just be the usual cultural differences that are causing the issues, but rather a socio-economic one: loot boxes.

The Bloomberg article linked above mentions that the holdup might be due to Chinese regulators "step[ping] up scrutiny on online gambling and gaming addiction." GI.biz's Rob Fahey speculates even further on the link between China's actions and loot boxes, and it's not an absurd notion. China was one of the first countries to start clamping down on loot box practices, well before the whole Star Wars: Battlefront II fiasco that made headlines in the West. As Fahey notes, as big a market as China is, severe restrictions or outright banning of loot boxes there would have a huge impact on the global game economy, forcing developers to either find alternate monetization plans for their games, especially free-to-play ones. There's also this possibility:

"One option this would put on the table, which many consumers in other markets might find unpalatable, is the prospect of parallel development of games with and without loot-box mechanisms or other free-to-play monetisation systems."

If the Chinese government is basically willing to gut the video game industry within its borders to the point that even Monster Hunter: World publisher Tencent can't make headway, you would think that loopholes, like the one Valve is exploiting for Dota 2 in Belgium, would also get shut down. Interesting times are ahead.

Share:
Got a news tip? Contact us directly here!

About the Author

Jason Winter
Jason Winter, News Editor
Jason Winter is a veteran gaming journalist, he brings a wide range of experience to MMOBomb, including two years with Beckett Media where he served as the editor of the leading gaming magazine Massive Online Gamer. He has also written professionally for several gaming websites.

Discussion (1)

Manipulator 3 years ago
China have Monster Hunter Online

end of story


You May Enjoy

World Of Warships Celebrates Sixth Anniversary

World Of Warships Celebrates Sixth Anniversary

Dutch cruisers and Soviet carriers join the party.

By Jason Winter - 2 weeks ago
Aion Producer’s Letter Talks Anniversary, Server Mergers, Classic Updates, And More

Aion Producer’s Letter Talks Anniversary, Server Mergers, Classic Updates, And More

There’s a lot going on in the world of Aion at the moment.

By QuintLyn Bowers - 1 week ago
Since You Probably Don't Have Enough Launchers, Riot Is Releasing One For All Their Titles

Since You Probably Don't Have Enough Launchers, Riot Is Releasing One For All Their Titles

Because I am sure you wanted yet another client launcher on your PC.

By Michael Byrne - 1 week ago
Activision Blizzard King Hit With Unfair Labor Practices Complaint

Activision Blizzard King Hit With Unfair Labor Practices Complaint

Also, McCree renaming will take a while, is a 'pretty complicated project.'

By Jason Winter - 1 week ago
Latest World Of Warcraft PTR Patch Replaces Or Modifies Previously "Sexual" Background Paintings

Latest World Of Warcraft PTR Patch Replaces Or Modifies Previously "Sexual" Background Paintings

This seems so small in the grand scheme of things and certainly not where current focus should be for Blizzard.

By Michael Byrne - 1 week ago
Pirate-Themed 6v6 Brawler Plunder Panic Scheduled To Launch On Steam Early Access September 17

Pirate-Themed 6v6 Brawler Plunder Panic Scheduled To Launch On Steam Early Access September 17

The retro-style game is the chaotic battle you never knew you wanted.

By QuintLyn Bowers - 2 weeks ago
See More
Live Giveaways