How China ▢▢▢▢▢▢ Gaming

How China ▢▢▢▢▢▢ Gaming


– Hey, guys, and welcome to This is Now. You may have seen
there’s been a little bit of drama when it comes to
China and gaming lately. Now, for those of you living under a rock, over the past several
months, protests have raged on in Hong Kong over human
rights and censorship in China. Now, up until 1997, Hong Kong was actually a British colony,
dating all the way back to 1841, and up until that
point it was under British rule. When Britain relinquished
Hong Kong back to China, even though it is still
technically part of China, it now has a different set
of laws than the mainland, which gives Hong Kong more autonomy, but more importantly, much more freedom, including freedom of speech
and freedom of assembly. This became known as
one county, two systems. The protests initially broke
out when a bill was proposed that would allow extradition
of suspected criminals to mainland China, where they would no longer
be protected by Hong Kong’s much more democratic policies. People feared that China
would use this bill as a way to further censorship, by targeting journalists
or political activists, and since then, the protests have become frequent and violent,
with a number of cases of police brutality and well, just, yeah. Even after the bill was
rescinded in September, the protests have become much more so about freedom of speech
and anti-censorship and you know, overall human rights. So you might be wondering,
what exactly does any of this have to do with gaming? Now, you might be familiar with BlizzCon, where Activision Blizzard
typically announce all of their major new
games that are coming out, and last year’s BlizzCon was considered pretty controversial. – Hey, just was wondering, is this an out of season
April Fool’s joke? (audience whistles and laughs) – Regardless, this year’s event is much, much more controversial. There’s already even protests
happening over Blizzard’s, shall we say, controversial support of China a few weeks ago. After their Grandmasters
Hearthstone tournament, in a post-victory interview,
the player Blitzchung promoted his support from Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protesters stating, “Liberate Hong Kong, the
revolution of our times,” which, well, let’s just say
didn’t go over too well. Blizzard immediately took
away Chung’s prize money and banned him from
tournaments for a year, claiming that he violated
competition rules. Oh, and for good measure, they also banned the two streamers that
were interviewing Chung for literally, no apparent reason. Blizzard faced a massive
amount of backlash from the community,
with many users calling for a boycott of Activision
Blizzard and all of their games. Many took to social
media to show themselves uninstalling Overwatch or unsubscribing to World of Warcraft. It also didn’t help that
there were some suspicious authentication errors on their servers preventing people from actually
deleting their accounts. Even Blizzard’s own employees
joined in on the boycott, staging a walkout, including Mark Kern, one of WoW’s original developers. Kern Tweeted, quote,
“We are in a situation “where unlimited Communist money dictates “our American values. “We censor our games for China, “we censor our movies for China. “Now, game companies are silencing voices “for freedom and democracy.” Yeah, okay, so I know that you clicked on a video talking about
gaming, but this (beep) got real, and it got
real quick, didn’t it? Ultimately, Blizzard did
reduce Blitzchung’s ban and reinstated his prize money, but that didn’t really do
much to sway public opinion. So why does Activision
Blizzard, an American company, care so much about China’s affairs? Well, it’s actually simple and yet, not so simple at the same time. For one, China is the largest
gaming market in the world. Now, China is still a
Communist government, and unlike democratic and
capitalist driven countries, business is far more
regulated by the government. So if a company, oh, I
don’t know, let’s say, Activision Blizzard wants
to do business in China, they really do need that
government approval. Now, if Blizzard was to say, I don’t know, offend China by streaming
something about Hong Kong, they could easily be
blacklisted from the market with the flip of a
switch, and lose millions of dollars in the process. And of course, Blizzard is in no way alone with this problem. The NBA recently came
under similar scrutiny after the Houston Rockets’
general manager, Daryl Morey, Tweeted out support for Hong Kong, which angered the Chinese
government and most of China. This led to the Rockets
losing sponsorships, and Tencent Sports suspended
all of their broadcasts of the Rockets’ games, as well as losing all of the merchandise from
being pulled throughout of all of China. That’s a lot of things. That’s, yeah. En suite! And goodbye, China! Goodbye all your merch,
goodbye your streaming rights! Now, the Rockets’ owner,
as well as the NBA, have issued these standard
statements you would expect that Morey’s opinions are his own, that he doesn’t speak for the team, of course, he deleted the Tweet, and that makes sense
because there are around 600 million basketball fans in China. The NBA can’t really
afford to lose that market. Or well, maybe they can afford to lose it, they just don’t wanna lose
the millions and millions of dollars that are attached. It’s almost like companies
really like money or something. But it’s not just the world that’s trying to appeal to China. China’s been shaping the
world in its own vision. So the way that it has worked in the past is that content created
in Western countries, whether it’s gaming,
movies, TVs, whatever, had to go through a content process known as regulation, and was altered to comply with Chinese standards so they could be released in that market. Such as when Game of
Thrones aired in China and they removed like, half the scenes from the finale, which
made it make no sense. Although to be fair, I don’t think it made that much more sense with
the finale (chuckles). – [Male Staff Member] That was really bad. Real bad. – Yeah, Game of Thrones is over. I’m sad now. Nowadays, China is trying
to streamline the process and not by loosening regulations, but by buying game
developers or by straight up producing western movies such
as Terminator: Dark Fate, as well as like, half
the other blockbusters around right now. As we mentioned in our
Battle Royale comparison, Tencent Games is the largest
game developer in the world. They own League of Legends, of course, the largest eSport game in the world, as well as a ton of stakes
in huge game developers such as Epic, Ubisoft, and
(imitating dramatic music) Activision Blizzard. See? It all comes back around at the end! Their parent company, Tencent Holdings, is one of the largest
companies in the world. They own things such as
the massively popular WeChat, which if you live in China, is pretty much a necessity. There’s social media on there, there’s messaging, there’s payments, I mean, it is incredibly
hard to live without it. And Tencent also handles
the streaming rights for things such as music, movies, TV. I mean, they have their
hand in almost everything, about 700 total companies
as of, well, right now. It’ll probably be 800 by the
time we finish this video. Now, here’s a fact that
legitimately blew my mind. Tencent is so large that they account for 46% of all revenue in China and 10% of the global video game market. Could we just pause for a
second and think about this? 46% of the revenue of the
entire country of China! I mean, I guess a large part of that is just because WePay is so
popular that people use it. By that logic maybe like, Visa’s like, a huge chunk of the actual
revenue of the United States, but still! That is an insane figure! Now, in the gaming front they own WeGames, which is the Chinese equivalent of Steam, with 200 million active users each month. Now, while Steam has some stupid number like a billion accounts,
it actually only has around 90 million active users, or less than half of WeGames. While Tencent might
hold a very small stake in a company such as Activision Blizzard or Ubisoft, only typically around 5%, they still have a lot of influence over these companies, and
that’s because they hold all of the distribution rights
for these games in China. So while Tencent might
not have an official say, because they do control such
a huge portion of the market, a lot of these companies feel
like they have to comply. A good example for this
is Rainbow Six Siege, where the global release
of the game was tweaked to comply with Chinese game
regulations, AKA censorship, as opposed to the past
where Ubisoft probably would have just created a
separate Chinese version of the game, which is typically
what developers have done. However, times are a-changin’ and well, it’s kinda hard to argue
the largest game market in the world isn’t worth
paying attention to. But now it seems that
Tencent is set on shifting the global gaming market to
their ideal business model, which is all free-to-play. Back in 2000, China placed a 15-year ban on foreign-made game consoles for fear of children becoming
addicted to video games. Ooh! Although, it’s kind of backwards
when you think about it because nowadays they
pretty much just want people to play free-to-play
games, which obviously are probably way worse. But regardless, it’s fine. No one knew video games
were a thing in 2000, right? But since the major consoles were all from foreign manufacturers,
this effectively meant that there was no console gaming in China. Now, there were some loopholes, like a couple of Chinese knockoffs, but actually, it was
Nintendo who partnered with a local Chinese company named iQue in order to sell their consoles. Nintendo rebranded all their products so you had the iQue GBA, the iQue DSI, and the iQue Player, which
is essentially an N64, but of course it was reclassified
as a plug and play system. The entire console was
housed in the controller and then plugged into the TV, so it wasn’t technically a console. Being with systems like these available, gamers gravitated toward PC gaming, making up the vast majority of the market even to this day. The only problem was that most people couldn’t actually afford
to buy their own PCs, so a lot of gamers ended
up going to internet cafes, where players could rent
PCs by the hour to play. Now, most countries,
internet cafes were big and then they became a quick fad, but in China their popularity
has actually grown. And let’s face it,
you’re probably not going to buy games for a PC you don’t own, and thus, it’s so much easier to jump in to a free-to-play title
such as League of Legends or DOTA 2, and they quickly became the most popular form of gaming. Since game developers needed a way to monetize all of these games, that’s when they started
to add the familiar free-to-play elements like
pay-to-win and loot boxes. And of course, you can
check out a whole episode on that right here. Now, Tencent has been making a push to include those elements
in pretty much every IP they own stake in. Lastly, companies like Blizzard and Epic thrive on the growth of eSports markets. In 2017, the League of
Legends championship had over 106 million viewers, which is more than even the Super Bowl, and a whopping 98% of those
viewers were from China. Now, while Fortnite and
Hearthstone are nowhere near those numbers for viewers,
the industry has been growing steadily over the last couple years, and these companies need the
Chinese market to thrive. Just at what cost? So the thing is here is that
these companies are companies. They have to make money. And China being a massive gaming market really does require a lot of companies to sort of, pick their poison, I suppose. Or I think this is one
of the very few times where there’s actually been
a huge blowback, right? Blizzard has never seen, or really, none of these gaming companies, have ever seen this kind of pushback. And it makes sense, because at some point you can’t have it both ways. You either have lots of
profit and lots of money and you work with China,
or you kind of don’t. And I dunno how long this
sort of middle ground of trying to keep everyone
happy is actually going to last. Thank you so much for watching! If you enjoyed, definitely
be sure to subscribe to the channel and ring
that notification bell, and of course, you can check out some of the other episodes of This is Here. Now, if you will excuse
us, I’m going to enjoy being banned in China now
because we made this video. Although, I guess to be
fair, Youtube’s not in China, so I think we’re fine already, but… (soft music)

100 Comments on "How China ▢▢▢▢▢▢ Gaming"


  1. I’d say the bigger problem are the investors of these companies. Yes, Tencent owns a large percentage of shares in these companies, but not the majority. If investors were willing to actually temper their ROI demands to account for taking China out of the equation, this wouldn’t be an issue. Unfortunately, investors only care about ROI…it’s all about the green and they don’t care how the company gets it. So what’s a CEO supposed to do? Defy the shareholders, make a stand and then get fired by the board? Or bend over and take it up the ass by China and meet shareholder demands? They’ve got their hands tied here.

    Reply

  2. Blizzard: We're sorry

    Also Blizzard: . . . But you're not allowed to tell us your opinions in the chat.

    Also also Blizzard: And the casters are still fired.

    Also also also Blizzard: And we'll definitely do it again.

    Reply

  3. The ol’ “well, they’re a company and they have to make money” excuse … a timeless classic! Remember this when you want to let your creativity manifest through video game design: it’s all about that bottom line.

    Reply

  4. The NA release of Siege isn’t censored. They did make a second version of the game for China. From my understanding you thought they just did a blanket censorship.

    Reply

  5. China slaughtered many people at Tiananmen Square and Taiwan is an independent country. Also Tibet was its own nation until China invaded killing many people. China denies all of those facts.

    Reply

  6. Its sad that the only things they say online about a country is censorship. You just get fed up very quickly when you realise that people cant tell apart government and population. Nice video btw

    Reply

  7. As a subscriber of Austin from Hong Kong for years, I am so grateful that you mentioned the situation of our city in one of your video🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻
    Fight for freedom, stand with Hong Kong 🇭🇰

    Reply

  8. Look at tegrity farms after they started to sell in the Chinese market yes their profits grew but they lost public trust

    Reply

  9. blizzard is in a financial position where they could easily afford to lose the market but its the greed for money that is making them stay

    Reply

  10. The Rainbow 6 Siege changes didnt go through to the global build. They ended up making a second version of the game for China after player backlash.

    Reply

  11. They shoudlve banned Chung. Ppl are stupid as shit. Keep that crap out of my games. If u wanna fight for Hong Kong, go to hong Kong.

    Reply

  12. Damn cod mobile has been shitty I still played it but they always be tryng to get ur money I bought the battle pass just caused it look like a good deal

    Reply

  13. Is it me or does it seem the overall point of this video was to explain all the [CENSORED]sides to this china thing and Austin is shilling for these large companies to legitimize them for a cut of there money so they dont seem so bad almost like blizzard hired him IM JOKING NOT A REAL IDEA

    Reply

  14. Yeah, China putting their propaganda in the movies they produce now. We should change the Earth's name to China.

    Reply

  15. Have you seen the photo shopped tank photo with the protester in China yeah that's how strict they are

    Reply

  16. Austin, you're a tech YouTuber, so why not just stay away from current political topics…? Things in Hong Kong is now more than a protest but rather a riot or even terrorism.

    Reply

  17. Support from Hong Kong!
    We felt this for a very long time. Thank you for letting the world know!

    FYI to the multinationals, what you earn in China stays in China. All Hong Kong businessmen know this. It is never yours until you convert it to your own currency and grab it back to your home country.

    Reply

  18. Good shallow dive but lacks any real opinion. Whats your opinion austin? Wanna go to trade shows in China again? 😂

    Reply

  19. Why not trying India as companies next investment. It has a huge gaming market which needs to be explored. Just like iPhone shifted to India. Gaming companies can shift their focus to Indian Youth. India also has a huge gaming market which can give tough competition to China.

    Reply

  20. what happened to regular This Is?? I like This Is Now but it's been a really long time since a normal This Is episode came out.

    Reply

  21. Game company should make decision with no political interest, and just for economy interest.

    That's what you like…
    Butbif you have a company, even licking gov ass will be encouraged if it will make you generate millions or even billions

    Reply

  22. Thank you Austin for letting them know, this people still believe that Blizzard is the bad guy to the end…

    Reply

  23. Say Goodbye to China forever Austin …… China has a very strong system to monitor someone or a group of people who is against them (whether they are Chinese or foreigners). You cannot go to China physically anymore since they will deny the visas of the foreigners who displease them. As long as CPC is still in power. You cannot even visit China anymore… But you are not popular in China anyway, so I think that is fine. (fuck China censorship)

    Reply

  24. China is [CENSORED] [CENSORED] [CENSORED] so china is a [CENSORED] [CENSORED] china [CENSORED]

    Reply

  25. Catering to China for financial reasons doesnt make you a businessman, it makes you a sleazeball.

    Reply

  26. I hate people talking about this political stuff but they never try to learn the real situation and real people, but just base on ideology.

    Reply

  27. Buggering screw Blizzard an chinas government, the bloody buggering twats. I hated overwatch anyway,

    Reply

  28. How China ▢▢▢▢▢▢ Gaming
    r u i n e d

    Sahara in hirmetcraft we'll make Sahara Now Bc it's soo fast

    this is : good idea i'll make it in my show

    Reply

  29. ummm "Autonomy – the right or condition of self-government" this would imply freedom, you didn't need to say "much more freedom" kind of doubling up there but thats okay continue…

    Reply

  30. Amazing! Companies are to chicken shit to stand up for what’s right because of loosing a specific market. Fuck people! Let them suffer! we need to make a communist country happy!

    That’s pretty FUCKED UP!

    Reply

  31. The 2 streamers actually encouraged him to say the phrases right beforehand. "Go ahead and say those words so we can end the stream."

    Reply

  32. Well America made China what it is now. When you do business with just one party, that party becomes king. So basically you are your self handing over the bargaining power to your supplier, all that for what? ->so you could save a buck $$$.
    For sure your on China’s hit list.

    Reply

  33. 隔行如隔山啊,Austin这是会失去多少大陆粉丝啊,可惜了可惜了。三观正真的很重要。Austin有空来香港或者广州深圳旅游一下就全明白了。取关了您内😛

    Reply

  34. i'm from Chiana….
    i want free speech,
    i want legal access to Youtube, and………
    i want Winnie the Poo….

    Reply

  35. I feel bad for the people living in China lol. Didn't they practically "create" Yao Ming to make sure he gets into the NBA?

    Reply

  36. Lemme fix that last sentence for you:

    "You can't have it both ways, you either be a greedy fucking shill of a company and have profit and lots of money, OR…

    You can be an honest company that doesn't sacrifice and abandon democracy, artistic freedom, or American values to make a quick buck, and your games are beautiful works of narrative art and expression rather than money making machine products that have no soul, ingenuity or identity."

    Reply

  37. I'm from Hong Kong and I really like your video, I have been watching your video since your house got burnt.

    Reply

  38. fantastic Work, I Liked it a lot, See this New Album 'Monish Jasbird – Death Blow', channel link www.youtube.com/channel/UCv_x5rlxirO-WKjLIyk6okQ?sub_confirmation=1 , you can try 🙂

    Reply

  39. FUCK CHINA FUCK CHINA FUCK CHINA FUCK CHINA FUCK CHINA FUCK CHINA FUCK CHINA FUCK CHINA FUCK CHINA FUCK CHINA FUCK CHINA FUCK CHINA FUCK CHINA FUCK CHINA FUCK CHINA FUCK CHINA FUCK CHINA FUCK CHINA FUCK CHINA FUCK CHINA FUCK CHINA FUCK CHINA FUCK CHINA FUCK CHINA FUCK CHINA FUCK CHINA FUCK CHINA FUCK CHINA FUCK CHINA FUCK CHINA FUCK CHINA FUCK CHINA FUCK CHINA FUCK CHINA FUCK CHINA FUCK CHINA FUCK CHINA FUCK CHINA FUCK CHINA FUCK CHINA FUCK CHINA FUCK CHINA FUCK CHINA FUCK CHINA FUCK CHINA FUCK CHINA FUCK CHINA FUCK CHINA FUCK CHINA FUCK CHINA FUCK CHINA FUCK CHINA FUCK CHINA FUCK CHINA FUCK CHINA FUCK CHINA FUCK CHINA FUCK CHINA FUCK CHINA FUCK CHINA FUCK CHINA FUCK CHINA FUCK CHINA FUCK CHINA FUCK CHINA FUCK CHINA FUCK CHINA

    Reply

  40. IF YOU PLAY GAMES TOO MUCH IN CHINA, YOU LOSE SOCIAL CREDIT SCORE, THEN YOU CANT TALK TO PEOPLE, TAKE TRANSPORTATION OR WORK….BASICALLY YOU ARE A GHOST LEFT TO DIE. AND IF THAT DOESNT GET YOU THE WORK CAMP AND ORGAN HARVESTING MIGHT!!!!! DEATH TO COMMUNISM!!

    Reply

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