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Clash of Clans Is Now Forcing Chinese Players to Separate from Global Server

By Kongru
Feb. 17, 2022 updated 11:53

On the night of February 15th, Clash of Clans went through a “technical upgrade” that lasted a bizarrely long 14 hours. The next day, Chinese players realized they were being kicked out of their clans founded by overseas friends. At the same time, many clans on the Chinese server had foreign members automatically removed by the game system.

A screenshot showing Chinese players removed from foreign clans by serverA screenshot showing Chinese players removed from foreign clans by server

Due to video game publishing regulations, all online games have to go through a grueling government evaluation process and have dedicated servers operating in China to separate Chinese players from the rest of the world for complicated reasons and concerns. Hence games like EVE online, which was designed to have all global players on one giant server, would have to set up a separate branch in China to abide by the regulation.

The regulation was designed in the PC MMO era, and when mobile internet took over, rapid game development processes and technology advances changed the landscape drastically. Games like Clash of Clans still have a separate Chinese server to provide better-localized service. Still, deep down, all player data are shared across all servers. A Chinese player can easily match up against any other player globally or join clans and interact with friends overseas, which renders the separation regulation somewhat irrelevant.

For quite a few years, there was no action taken by the Chinese regulators against this newly found loophole, and many games jumped on board this strategy. They developed a similar form of interconnected global server, especially among the asynchronous multiplayer strategy games where internet latency would not affect player experience.

Clearly, this will not be the case anymore. After eight months of not allowing any new video game to be published and banning all players under the age of 18 from participating in esports, China is still doubling down on regulating its gaming industry with a strong hand.