Australia always seems to be the perfect punch line for any scenario, and their handling of games certification might make the rest of laugh while our Australian friends cry. Now we can say with certainty that our dear Stephen will have an easier time getting cool games than people in at least one country.
China has let the Great Firewall down just that little bit, allowing foreign consoles to go on sale. However, they also revealed that they were making plans to police those games with a set of guidelines. Those rules have now been revealed, and it doesn’t seem that Hong Kong-set Sleeping Dogs would make it through.
Games in Asia has given the full info on the rules, and I was at least happy to read that the approval process for games must be completed in 20 days and games that aren’t approved will be returned with the reason for their rejection. What sort of reasons can we look forward to? Well, it’s a relatively predictable list:
- Gambling-related content or game features
- Anything that violates China’s constitution
- Anything that threatens China’s national unity, sovereignty, or territorial integrity.
- Anything that harms the nation’s reputation, security, or interests.
- Anything that instigates racial/ethnic hatred, or harms ethnic traditions and cultures.
- Anything that violates China’s policy on religion by promoting cults or superstitions.
- Anything that promotes or incites obscenity, drug use, violence, or gambling.
- Anything that harms public ethics or China’s culture and traditions.
- Anything that insults, slanders, or violates the rights of others.
- Other content that violates the law
Those rules about anything that goes against China’s government or culture were to be expected, but I’m curious to see how broadly or selectively these rules will be interpreted. Nothing that promotes cults or superstitions – does that mean that zombies are categorically out? What about anything including Vampires? If those things are re-skinned, can they work around the rules? What about promoting or inciting obscenity, drug use, violence or gambling? Does that mean that the gambling mini-games from things like Assassin’s Creed would need to be removed? Of course, the AC franchise is all about undermining authority, which I’m sure goes against those other rules anyway.
I suppose this system is better than nothing, and it remains to be seen how the rules are interpreted. That said, at least Australia was eligible to eventually get Saints Row, even if it was a toned down version. Somehow, I don’t think any amount of toning down will let the Chinese experience GTA legally on consoles.
Last Updated: April 24, 2014