China will soon be lifting its ban on video game consoles and while that's certainly a good thing, the Shanghai government just released a comprehensive list of content restrictions for game makers looking to release their products in the Asian state.
On the no-fly list are:
- Gambling-related content or game features
- Anything that violates China’s constitution
- Anything that threatens China’s national unity, sovereignty, or territorial integrity.
- Anything that harms the nation’s reputation, security, or interests.
- Anything that instigates racial/ethnic hatred, or harms ethnic traditions and cultures.
- Anything that violates China’s policy on religion by promoting cults or superstitions.
- Anything that promotes or incites obscenity, drug use, violence, or gambling.
- Anything that harms public ethics or China’s culture and traditions.
- Anything that insults, slanders, or violates the rights of others.
- Other content that violates the law.
Well, that's pretty broad and ripe for abuse, no?
On the bright side, the approval process for games (which, according to Game in Asia, "refers to the local Shanghai government culture department, not the probably-more-strict national Ministry of Culture") will take no longer than 20 days and games that are refused will be returned with "the reason for their rejection clearly stated" so that developers can address the issues and resubmit.
On a side note, Game in Asia points to a reader poll where the most popular reaction to the new guidelines is "As soon as I saw the rules, I lost hope." As of this writing, there are less than 250 respondents so take the results as you will.
-Reporting from San Diego, GamePolitics Contributing Editor Andrew Eisen