Skip to main content

Chinese government reveals censorship rules for console games

Nothing that promotes violence, swearing, gambling or cults.

The Chinese government has set forth its rules for the censorship of foreign video games - and it looks like a fair number of titles may be affected.

Among the list of no-nos is "anything that promotes obscenity, drug use or violence", which probably rules out Grand Theft Auto 5.

Would the Hong Kong-set Sleeping Dogs pass the censors?

Anything that "insults, slanders or violates the rights of others" is also disallowed, Games in Asia reports, as is any gambling-related content or features.

There's a number of extra clauses to block content which could specifically upset China's interests - anything that threatens the country's reputation, for example, or its natural unity, or its sovereignty, or its territorial integrity.

Anything that runs contrary to its policy on religion is also out - including anything that promotes cults or superstitions. No word on if that covers zombies.

Game updates (such as DLC packs or expansions) must also face this approval method.

On the upside, however, the whole process for a game must take no longer than 20 days, and anything not approved will be given a clear reason for its rejection.

China lifted its 14-year ban on foreign console sales at the beginning of this year - a move noted by Sony as a valuable future market for growing the userbase of PlayStation 4.

But a week later China revealed that it was drawing up plans to police games released in the country with a set of guidelines - the rules released today.

"Things that are hostile to China, or not in conformity with the outlook of China's government, won't be allowed," China's Ministry of Culture head Cai Wu explained at the time. "We want to open the window a crack to get some fresh air, but we still need a screen to block the flies and mosquitoes."

Read this next