Fortnite’s Chinese Server Is Finally Shutdown

On Monday, The Chinese Fortnite server claimed its “testing phase” was over, the server will be shut down on November 15th, with new registration stopped as of November 1st.

Despite being a global phenomenon, Fortnite’s popularity in China has been mediocre at best. The most important reason being it never had a proper publishing license, so the game services had to be run as “beta testing”, without any microtransaction elements. Every hour the servers remain online and functional, it’s a financial loss for both Epic Games and Tencent.

Fortnite started its Chinese server as early as 2017. However, while applying for a publishing license, Epic’s holding company Tencent launched its own Steam-like online video game shop Wegame. Wegame attempted to exploit a loophole in the regulations, operating as a foreign company that offers service to mainland China, to publish several popular games including Monster Hunter World and Fortnite that do not have publishing licenses in China.

A poster showing more than 1 million player registered Moster Hunter World on Wegame

However, this gambit quickly went south. Government regulators were not happy about the attempt to circumvent regulations, and Wegame was dead on arrival. Most foreign games on Wegame were taken down and up to this point, the platform has not taken any further steps forward.

Although Fortnite was not banned outright in China, the Wegame incident soured its reputation among the regulators and it has not since been able to acquire a publishing license. Meanwhile, Tencent shifted focus with its domestic teams, creating games like ‘Peacekeeper Elite’, a heavily modified version of PUBGM with colorful aesthetics. In order to fill in the market that was supposed to be dominated by Fortnite at the time.

Peacekeeper Elite (Or PUBGM China Version) has turned out to be a great success, further diminishing the priority of having Fortnite operating legally in China. Although players and analysts foresaw Fortnite Chinese servers shutting down from a long way back, it’s still an interesting case to look at, and a reminder of the ever-changing and competitive nature of The Chinese video game industry.

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