A Nintendo Switch video game has been taken down China’s grey market e-commerce platforms, Reuters’ after Hong Kong activist Joshua Wong used the game to protest against Beijing’s rule of the Chinese territory.
The game, “Animal Crossing: New Horizons”, is a vibrant social simulator in which gamers can decorate their own island and invite others to visit. It became an immediate hit after its launch in March and has been played by many gamers to interact and simulate real-life situations while they’re stuck at home because of measures to contain the coronavirus outbreak.
China has stringent guidelines on content from everything from video games to movies and music, censoring something it believes breaches core socialist values. Gaming firms should also receive licenses for the games they want to publish.
Nintendo announced console sales in China with tech titan Tencent in December, but gamers in China can only access multiplayer connections for video games similar to Animal Crossing via international editions available on the grey market through platforms such as Pinduoduo and Taobao.
Nonetheless, since Joshua Wong’s Twitter post, searches for “Animal Crossing: New Horizons” have displayed no results on Pinduoduo. On Alibaba’s Taobao, some distributors are attempting to circumvent the crackdown by directing potential customers towards listings that sell the game without utilizing its title in the description.