Gamers in China said on Monday they could no longer access the popular survival game Fortnite, as its developer Epic Games unplugged a Chinese version amid a crackdown by authorities on the games and tech industry.
Epic had announced two weeks ago that it would shut down the Chinese version of the game on November 15, noting that “Fortnite China’s beta test has ended” and that the servers will be shut down.
Chinese players said they could no longer access the game on Monday, bidding farewell on the Weibo social media platform. A hashtag on the game has been viewed 470 million times.
“Friends who played with me, we’ll meet again if fate decides,” wrote one Weibo user.
Another player named Zheng, 24, told AFP he would “like a little bit first” because of the game he played for more than two years while in college. .
The move ends a long-running test of Fortnite created for the world’s largest gaming market, where content is screened for excessive violence.
The action-packed world-building shooter is one of the most popular in the world, with over 350 million users.
Its Chinese test version was released in 2018, but “Fortnite” never received the green light from the government to be officially launched and monetized as approvals of new games slowed.
The Chinese government has taken a broad crackdown on the tech industry over the past year, citing concerns that tech giants are getting too big and powerful.
Meanwhile, claiming that children are spending too much time playing online games, regulators have also targeted the huge gaming industry with new age and play time restrictions, while the approval of new titles also slowed down.