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China's second largest e-commerce platform to ban 87 games including Call of Duty and Animal Crossing

By Isabella Jiangcheng
Sep. 4, 2021 updated 02:58

China's second-largest e-commerce platform JD.com has released a statement forbidding vendors selling games that do not have a publishing license in China. The list mentions 87 games, including popular series such as Grand Theft Auto, Call of Duty, Animal Crossing: New Horizons, and Super Mario Maker 2.

Since all games on this list do not have a valid publishing license in China, They’re not supposed to be redistributed by anyone anyway. However, a grey market for imported physical game disks always existed, and for the most part was ignored by the government.

It’s not difficult to notice a few careless mistakes on the list. For example, many listed games are quite old and finding a physical copy would be considered some kind of achievement, such as 50 Cent: Bulletproof and True Crime. Yet the more recent and more popular Battlefield I and Battlefield V are nowhere to be found. Also, Command and Conquer: Shogun appeared on the list twice as items 62 and 74.

These signs show that the ban list was probably scrambled together by JD to show a cooperative attitude towards the recent video game age restriction mandate.

Chinese grey market game vendors are often talented at finding loopholes within the regulations. Last April, the largest Chinese e-commerce site Taobao also banned Animal Crossing: New Horizon. But creative sellers renamed the game to ‘hot guy picking twigs’(猛男捡树枝)or use hand-drawn covers to escape keyword detection.

 Considering the recent development, these kinds of hustles probably wouldn’t work as well as they used to anymore.